Silverado (1985) Movie Script

Hello, I'm Frank Thompson.
I'm a writer and film historian.
And this is Paul Hutton,
I'm a Western historian... the Western History
Association as executive director...
...and teach at
the University of New Mexico.
And I'm Steve Aron,
I'm professor of history at UCLA...
...and I'm executive director...
...of the Institute for the Study
of the American West... the Autry National Center.
And we're all here to talk about
Lawrence Kasdan's Silverado... of the last
of the old-style Westerns...
...and a forerunner of the modern
Western of the 21st century.
Though it's interesting...
...because it really is, also,
as all Westerns are...
...a movie that is as much about
its time... about the time in which it's set.
It's clearly also a 1980s Western.
Oh, very much. And not only that...
...of course, the Western was
pretty well dead by this time...
...and Kasdan was making
a heroic effort to bring it back.
Well, you know, the thing is,
the Western is pronounced dead...
...on various occasions
and then makes...
...its sort of temporary,
at least, resurrection.
Well, the Eastern intellectual
...continues to put a stake
through its heart...
...and, of course, Dracula still rises
from the grave over and over.
The Western will never die.
The interesting thing is,
in the '60s and early '70s...
...there were a lot of Westerns...
...that were clearly trying to change
the face of the form:
The Wild Bunch, the darker Westerns
like Dirty Little Billy and Doc...
...but this is as classic
as you could possibly want.
Almost every element of the
classic Western is represented... some point in this movie.
It has this modern cast...
...and at the time, of course, they were
all, you know, hot young actors...
...but the story itself,
and the way that it's told... very much
in the classic John Ford mould.
The cast is interesting, of course,
because Kasdan...
...really goes against type
in his casting of Westerns.
He did the same thing
in Wyatt Earp...
...and sometimes I think
it works against him...
...because he doesn't use...
...some of those grizzled
old character actors that...
You know, a Ben Johnson,
a Buck Taylor...
...that make us feel warm and fuzzy
when we watch a Western.
That sense of familiarity.
So he was daring
in his casting on this.
As soon as we start hearing
the opening strains of this theme... Bruce Broughton,
you know you're in classic territory.
To me, the gold standard
of Western musical scores...
...are Alfred Newman's
How the West Was Won...
...Elmer Bernstein's
The Magnificent Seven...
...Jerry Fielding's The Wild Bunch.
I think it's a great compliment to say
that this score is up there with them...
...and it can really be talked about
in the same sense.
This is a terrific, wonderful,
rousing score.
Now, I'm surprised you didn't mention
the scores to the spaghetti Westerns... that this gives me a chance,
both to plug...
At the Autry National Center
next summer, we are opening...
...a major exhibition on the films
of Sergio Leone...
...both on the Westerns that
influenced him, and then, in turn...
...the films that Sergio Leone has...
The modern filmmakers...
...who Sergio Leone has influenced,
including Scorsese...
...and Quentin Tarantino,
most obviously.
But there, I think the scores of those
movies are particularly memorable.
In fact, I think people remember
the score of the movie...
...more than they actually remember
any of those movies...
...other than that Clint Eastwood was
a poncho-wearing character in them.
Yeah, certainly I'm remiss
in not mentioning...
...Ennio Morricone's score for
Once Upon a Time in the West...
...which is one of the great
movie scores, Western or not.
That's actually a great score,
but I don't care for any of the others...
...and it seemed to me that
the Italian Western helped... kill the Western.
So I've always had
a little edge about it.
There's the part of it that,
sometimes, the reinventions...
...and attempts to reinvent or resurrect,
don't necessarily lead... the sort of revival direction.
And I resisted them
for the longest time...
...but finally I've come over
to the dark side and recognised...
...that Once Upon a Time in the West
truly is a great film...
...and not just because
Claudia Cardinale is in it so often...
...which is the only reason
I watched it before, but...
Yes, and what we're watching now
is a fine film...
...but it could use
a Claudia Cardinale.
It certainly could.
They could've used her in this movie.
Well, or they could've used
any fully developed...
...female character in this movie,
I think.
Well, I don't know that
"character" is necessary...
...but your first two adjectives
are correct.
- Any fully developed female.
- Yes.
Well, no, I do think that, clearly,
the Rosanna Arquette character...
...whose name I don't
even remember...
Her name's Hannah.
You know, she's not
a particularly strong character...
...throughout the film...
...and a lot of it must've wound up
on the cutting-room floor...
...because, clearly, they didn't
cast her not to use her more.
By the way, let me put a little plug in
for my state of New Mexico here.
We've just gone through the credits...
...and they've been
a wonderful travelogue...
...for all the scenic wonders
of New Mexico...
...where we have a very active
film commission...
...of which I'm associated,
and which, of course... great rebates to filmmakers
who wanna film in New Mexico.
And you can see how Kasdan loved...
As so many others...
...who've made Westerns
in the last 20 years...
...have loved New Mexico.
Well, that's one of the enduringly
great things about Westerns... it's so much about landscape
and the kind of people...
...who went to find these,
and to inhabit these lands...
...and so, really, all you have to do
is point the camera... scenery like that
and you're okay.
Well, the great thing
about New Mexico..., actually, variety
within a very tight space.
I just worked on The Missing,
I was historical consultant on it...
...and Ron Howard
was just captivated... how he could get
alpine mountains...
...he could get deserts,
he could get barren moonscapes...
...and lush meadows...
...all within 50 miles of really fine
restaurants and hotels in Santa Fe.
Now, where is this actually, though?
These sort of...
The full desert scene here.
Well, this is further down,
down by Las Cruces.
So most of it is, though,
northern New Mexico.
Most of them have been set in
somewhere north of Santa Fe?
This was all shot
right around Santa Fe...
...and they built a whole movie set...
...which we'll talk about later
when we get to it.
Which, actually,
was only about five miles...
...where I lived in El Dorado,
in Santa Fe.
And it's also the movie set
that was used on The Missing... was also used for Young Guns II
and several other Westerns.
Now, these guys have just, what we
call in the movie biz, "met cute."
Is that a movie-biz term?
We don't say that
in the history business.
Not if you wanna keep tenure,
you don't say that.
And, mostly, the people who meet cute
are the hero and the heroine...
...and I think it's really significant
that these two guys...
...are really the romantic centre
of this movie.
I'm not insinuating.
No, I'm not suggesting anything.
I'm simply saying that in lacking
a strong female character in this film...
...these two are really
the emotional bond of the movie.
Though there was, I think, some idea
that Rosanna Arquette...
...would be the third part
of this triangle.
I've heard that suggested...
...but it certainly isn't borne out
in the film that we see.
la Butch Cassidy
and the Sundance Kid, I suppose.
It's nice to have guys who care
about each other in Westerns.
And indeed, you know,
McMurtry is currently...
They're filming a new Larry McMurtry
story even as we speak...
...and it is allegedly
the first great gay Western.
I've always wondered about
Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp... all those films.
Well, it's certainly a subject
that goes all the way back... all the great Westerns.
I mean, there's rarely...
...a really good heterosexual romance
in any of the great classic Westerns.
There are mostly men who bond.
The Wild Bunch is a perfect example.
But here, at least, you have men
bonding, caring about one another...
...protecting one another, in a sense,
as opposed to the newest Western...
...the David Milch version,
...where everyone is out
to do each other in, it seems.
Well, Deadwood is very much more
in the tradition...
...of the ones I mentioned earlier,
Dirty Little Billy, Doc...
...those dark, sleazy,
horrible, underside Westerns.
But I think Deadwood
is really a brilliant series.
Deadwood is wonderful. You know,
I was actually struck, though...
...that this film,
especially in its characterisations...
...had sort of
a forerunner of Deadwood.
This is one of the sets that's
not far from Santa Fe, by the way.
Which they've really
dressed out nicely.
In fact, I just used this set...
...for a History Channel episode
of Investigating History I did...
...on Butch Cassidy
and the Sundance Kid.
It's now in complete ruins.
It's interesting to see when it was new.
But here, this one set, where we have,
actually, adobe-style housing... the one hint in the movie,
it seems, that this is a territory...
...that was inhabited by Mexicans.
But most of the movie is...
...with the exception of Danny Glover,
all white people.
That there's no sense of the
multiethnic population of New Mexico...
...and the New Mexican Territory.
So in that sense, it's a movie that,
I think, if it were remade today...
...would be remade
with a more multiethnic cast.
And it is interesting that,
in fact, Deadwood has that.
You see that the streets are populated
with a wide variety of people.
And, of course, in reality...
...the American West,
especially the West Coast...
...was the most diverse, multiethnic
section of the United States... the time of the Wild West.
There's just no question about it.
And one of the wonders of it...
...would be that you would meet
all kinds of different people... would eat all kinds
of different foods...
...see all kinds of different clothing.
So it was the exotic...
...and that was one of the appeals
of the West.
We can tell that he has a sense
of humour about the West here...
...which comes out.
And, again, one more example of
fine shooting so that we know that...
And for a gun that won't even
hold together long enough to load it.
I do know one, at least one
backwoods story that was told...
...this was about Daniel Boone...
...but about various frontier hunters
in Kentucky in a much earlier era...
...but, again, where,
in a William Tell-like move... was reported that people
did something like that...
...where they placed the target
between the legs of the person... opposed to atop the head...
...which I guess was evidence
of the deepest play.
I believe that's called
frontier male bonding.
That's why there were so many altos
in the Old West.
Oh, another great character actor
being introduced...
...but, again, a very sort of
New York actor.
I mean, all of Kasdan's actors
are more Eastern in their sensibility.
And this, I think, speaks not only to
the lack of those old character actors...
...but also to this question
of a lack of ethnicity in the movie.
If you even think about a classic
Western like The Searchers...
...for instance,
back in the early '50s...
...there's always that sense
of the exotic.
On their travels, they meet lots
of different kinds of people.
Of course, The Wild Bunch
is full of that.
I mean, The Wild Bunch
is all the exotic.
Once they leave the town
full of Bible-thumpers...
...they are in a new
and exotic world of Mexico.
Right, but this, I mean, I think it's,
as I say, striking, because here...
And Paul, you mentioned
when you were talking about...
...certainly the recent emphasis
in Western historical scholarship...
...on the diversity of peoples
in the American West...
...and the American West
as the great meeting ground...
...of different peoples and cultures...
...far more so than the eastern half
of the United States...
...where racial relations were
configured along a white/black axis.
What Western history, I think,
has taught us in the last 20 years...
...or, at least, what Western historical
scholarship has tried to teach us... how much more complicated racial
and ethnic relations were in a place...
...peopled by so many different groups,
so many different cultures.
What's striking, though, in this movie
is how relatively absent that is...
...even though it is set
in New Mexico...
...which, while maybe not
as ethnically diverse... the Pacific slope, in terms
of the lack of Asian-Americans...
...certainly had
a significant population of...
...Spanish-speaking people,
as well as of American Indians.
And that's absent
from this movie...
...other than the architecture
in this scene.
Yeah, not only that, of course...
...a lot of Chinese miners,
that sort of thing.
I think that's just another indication
that this movie... based on other movies,
instead of based on Western history.
I mean, this is a classic Western film
that takes films as its background.
That was a classic introduction
of a Western character...
...where he comes up,
looks the guy up and down...
...and spits his tobacco out.
That's a clear sign there's gonna be
trouble in the future.
Oh, it's the 5th Cavalry Regiment.
You see, now, there's a little piece
of history thrown in.
I'm not sure the 5th
was ever in New Mexico...
...but, you know,
this really isn't New Mexico.
This is Neverland,
where we're set here.
This could be anywhere...
...and that's what's great
about the New Mexico landscape.
- It is Western Brigadoon, isn't it?
- It is. Very nice, yeah.
But I don't think Westerns
are ever supposed to be... a particular place, necessarily.
- They are in a mythic space.
- They are.
And it's sort of interesting
with Western film...
...and when I teach the Western...
...even when you're dealing with a film
like this, which is completely fictional...
I mean, this isn't based on anything
that's historical except the place.
But all Westerns reside in that place,
and so we have certain expectations...
...about what they're going to be...
...about what kind of action
is gonna transpire...
...about the story line.
And this film is perfectly
in keeping with that tradition.
It is at once historical
and completely fictional.
And the West it represents is
indeed this completely mythic West...
...that, at the same time,
defines who we are as a people.
Now, would you say that some
of the attempts to rework the Western... ways that this one doesn't...
This one, as you pointed out,
follows the classic lines... many respects.
...the ways the Westerns that try
to alter the framework in some ways... with just that?
Usually, when they alter the framework
too much, they have trouble.
They run into trouble.
And the alterations, I think...
...need to be pretty slight for it
to survive, but can be, yet, dramatic.
I mean, if you think of a show
like Deadwood...
...what they've done, in terms
of language and characterisation...
...has been pretty dramatic,
in terms of breaking with the past...
...but at the same time, those
characters are pretty traditional.
They're just more modern in their
language and their sensibilities.
Although people cussed
in the Old West.
- They had their own cusses.
- They had their own peculiar cusses...
...although they could be
very colourful.
Nice sunset. Nice, beautiful
New Mexico sunset.
I see those every day.
Well, it seems to me the Western film
has its own kind of rules.
Now, look, you get snow. See how
perfect New Mexico is? Yes, again.
Well, did they film this
in the wintertime?
You don't have to film
in the wintertime in New Mexico.
You can go find snow anywhere.
It's height that decides your climate,
so if you film in the fall or the spring...
And this is, in fact,
the movie ranch they built...
...not far from Santa Fe.
And that looks like real snow.
They didn't dress it.
When we shot The Missing,
there was no snow...
...and we dressed it for snow.
- You had to bring it in?
- Yes.
I, in fact, got horrible bronchitis and
was flat on my back for two weeks... a result of all this fake powder
that they used for the snow.
But it was worth it, you know,
to be in show business.
There was our first look
at Rosanna Arquette.
And again...
The hint that there's going to be
something more.
Well, the gallows is also a hint
that something's coming up.
And again, I would argue
that if this Western were being...
If this movie were being
remade today, again...
...and attempting to, in some ways,
play off of recent scholarship...
...which, of course,
movies don't have to do...
...but if it were, again, I think
the female role would have been...
...far more prominent and far more
fleshed out than it ends up being.
Or indeed there would be
no female whatsoever...
...and the role between
the two male leads would be...
...much more fleshed out,
as you would like.
That would be more in keeping
with modern scholarship.
Which is just fine with me.
Don't get me wrong,
I think everything's fine.
- You're not Baxter?
- My name's Emmett.
Well, see, there's cussing right there.
You see, he's cutting edge.
Not quite as evocative
as David Milch's dialogue.
You know, I have a rule that I apply,
which is called the Fanny Hill rule.
If it appears in John Cleland's
1747 British novel, Fanny Hill...
...then it's fair game.
It was language that was
commonly used by people.
And I know of no word...
And I'm pretty imaginative.
...I know of no word, no curse word... description
of male or female anatomy...
...that does not appear in
that 1747 novel, so I think we can.
- Thank you.
- Don't you want to count it?
We trust you.
Here, the guys,
we know they're bad guys...
...because they don't
wanna count the money...
...and we know that that means
they're gonna rob them later...
...which they certainly are.
By the way, the Western history
...the real people, who really care... opposed to academics like us...
...would just be going nuts
over all these hats...
...which are all very modern
and very wrong.
Completely wrong for the period.
Much too stylish, much too nice.
The things that period films
always are scared... offend the audience with
are hats and hair.
They always give people
modern hairstyles.
Look at anybody there
and they all look like...
I mean, her hair's up, but still,
if she went out on the street...
...between shots,
nobody would stare at her.
I would say hats, hair and teeth.
The quality of dentistry
was probably...
I don't think the white teeth
were quite as gleaming... Hollywood actors have.
This is, of course, the one scene
where, I think, racial issues...
...are brought forward
in the most obvious way.
And glancingly.
Well, I mean, for the most part,
this is it. It's here.
We have some idea African-Americans
were not seen as equals...
...or that there were some
segregation and discrimination... place in the West...
...and then that theme
also falls away.
And, frankly, in a place like
territorial New Mexico or Arizona...
...during this period,
this scene could go either way.
I mean, he could've been served
because, "Who cares"...
...or maybe he wouldn't
have been served.
It would be absolutely dependent
upon the background...
...of the bartender, of the proprietor.
There would've been no laws,
you know, no segregation laws.
But in a town
that is otherwise this white... might have been problematic.
Well, he would stand out.
And the fact that he's now kicking
their butt all over... probably wouldn't help
him with the local constable either.
He would probably have
some explaining to do.
Now, you mentioned before
that the hats and hair...
- And here's the law. Look at that.
- With a great opening line.
What's all this then?
This nigger's breaking up my place,
Sheriff Langston.
No, because it's the 1980s.
"I don't like that word very much."
Well, he's British,
so he has sensibilities.
And this is before
A Fish Called Wanda, isn't it?
Yes, it really is.
- But it's after Monty Python.
- Yeah.
And this, again,
I think, goes to the heart...
...of Lawrence Kasdan's unique sense
of casting in a Western film.
Not that there couldn't have been
a British sheriff. There could've been.
But it would be highly unlikely.
But I think he's terrific in the role.
You never buy him
as an actual person.
But as a movie character,
he's wonderful.
And let me point out that his hat
is authentic and correct.
And one of the few really authentic
hats we've got in this.
And that's defined because...?
It's a sort of bowler
from the late 19th century...
...a perfect sort of Eastern hat.
And very nice.
But even though he's British...
...he's the law, and he makes up
the law as he goes along...
...and that's a nice Western trait.
What about the costuming,
in the sense that...'d talked about
the problems that you had...
...or the way people, with The Alamo,
quibbled with various details.
Oh, let's not get Frank on The Alamo
and his Dickens costuming... that awful movie
that he was an integral part of...
...and should take
all responsibility for.
- It's a great movie.
- Yes.
And the costuming is terrific.
- The Alamo, that is.
- Yeah.
This is, you know...
There are probably elements within
these costumes that are correct...
...and I think it's very haphazard.
I think they dressed the people
to look good first...
...and then to be correct second.
- Which is what they should do.
- Sure, absolutely.
Absolutely. And sometimes, in fact,
if you think of a film like Tombstone...
...which was very popular
and very successful...
...and is especially popular among
the Wild West aficionado class...
...that film has sort of
defined costuming now... it appears in Westerns.
And there was a level of authenticity
to the costumes in Tombstone...
...but yet they were still very
dramatic and very colourful.
And, in fact, I think it's
one of the things...
...that set that film apart
from Kasdan's Wyatt Earp.
His costumes were darker, drearier.
He used a lot of blacks, browns.
I mean, he didn't,
his costume designer did...
...but he signed off on it.
And thus it lost the colour
that was integral to the West.
But that actually raises
the biggest question of all...
...that all filmmakers of Westerns
have to confront... much accuracy matters.
That is to say,
it could be more accurate...
...but does it make it a better movie
in any sense, and...?
No, in the final analysis,
I don't think it matters a bit.
Especially the Western, which is
the most malleable of film genres.
I mean, you look at, say,
My Pal Trigger with Roy Rogers...
...or The Great Train Robbery
from 1903...
...or Once Upon a Time in the West... wouldn't even put those things
in the same style in most ways...
...and yet they're all Westerns.
And you look at the Gene Autry things,
with his rhinestone cowboy outfits...
...and there's always
this incredible range of expression...
...and costume and the way
people re-create this period.
Range of expression and costume...
But here, not to get myself in trouble
with one of my employers...
...but the beauty about
a Gene Autry movie... if you've seen one,
you have seen them all.
True enough, and that's probably
why people loved him so much.
Now, you know, when I first saw
this in original release...
...this is the first time I'd ever seen
Kevin Costner in anything...
...and so I was very surprised
at the way his career went after this...
...because he's got this
loosey-goosey attitude in this film...
...and he's just so much fun
and just so lively...
...and he becomes much more
of a Gary Cooper type after this.
I mean, much more succinct and...
Sour and stiff is what
some people have said...
...but I think Gary Cooper-like
is a better...
See, I'm the more politic
of the two of us, Paul.
No, no, I think he is
more dour, though...
...and such a serious character.
And especially if you watch
a film like Wyatt Earp...'s hard to believe
it's the same actor.
And this film actually proves
he can act.
I mean, that's what they always said,
John Wayne just played himself.
No, for heaven's sake,
he was a very fine actor.
And Costner is too.
And he's playing
a completely different role here...
...than we see in his later films.
Of course, later he becomes
such a big star.
Maybe he wasn't willing to deviate
from that persona...
...that was working so well for him.
Well, Kevin has agreed to become
our membership spokesperson...
...for the Autry National Center,
so we are in his debt.
So no more "dour and stiff" comments.
I see. I'm sorry, gentlemen.
What I will say, he was actually
our honouree last year... our Western Heritage Award
...and one of the things
he said in this speech he gave...
I mean, he really has remained...
He is first and foremost
a fan of the Western...
...and has dedicated himself to it... ways that many of the people
who have backed him...
...or have sort of "agented" him
and the like...
...have not always suggested
that it was in his career interest... do the films that he has done.
Starting with Dances With Wolves,
but even with Open Range...
...I think that was not the movie
that I think many of his backers...
...would've liked him to be making.
That's a wonderful film too,
by the way...
...and one that really plays
very strongly, like this film... the conventions of the Western.
Populated with more traditional
characters, I think, than this film is.
I'm talking about Open Range.
But very, very well done...
...and with one of the great gunfights
ever filmed.
Yeah, it speaks very well of Costner,
that he's, along with Eastwood...
...really struggled,
and Tom Selleck, as well... keep the Western alive.
And if you didn't have these strong
actors with a powerful following...
...who cared about the Western,
it really would be gone.
- I can't show up without him.
- Then this is where we part ways.
You hate to see guys having
to part ways this early in their...
As close to each other
as these fellas.
Luckily, they're not gonna
part ways for very long.
They're not quite as laconic
as some Western heroes, though.
They actually manage to say
something in their parting here... opposed to simply the...
Well, these are 1980s guys,
so they're in touch with their feelings.
Much more so than, say,
Pike Bishop...
They parted, now they're going
to the bar... so much for that
whole conversation.
Isn't it interesting,
you go in any Western town...
...there's no one on the streets... go in the bar,
and it's absolutely packed.
Everybody's in there,
everybody's ready for action.
I always love that they have
these tiny little towns...
...with these gargantuan saloons
that are as big as a shopping mall.
And, you know, they actually did.
I mean, the West, you go,
you look at these little towns...
...especially the mining towns,
and there'll be one general store...
...there'll be one bank,
and there'll be 16 saloons.
But keep in mind,
no television, no movies... only had cards and liquor
to keep you going.
You're wearing my hat.
What else have you got that's mine?
I wouldn't argue for that hat back,
frankly, myself, but...
But, you know, this sort of...
This hat business
is famous in Westerns...
...and there's a long tradition...
Truly, there's a long tradition of people
messing with other people's hats...
...and that leads to dead men
in the streets pretty regularly.
And, of course, though,
this is one of the points...
...that Western historians
have tried to work over.
Where violence really took place
in the West... common these kind of
saloon-fight gunfights were... opposed to brawls.
I think people agree
that there was lots of brawling...
...but how many people got blown away
was much less common.
Well, Paul can speak to this
better than I can, of course...
...but the famous O.K. Corral fight...
What, a couple of guys dead,
a couple of guys wounded...
...and yet it's lived
throughout history... one of the great gun battles.
That's gotta tell you
what the body count...
Like, in the end of this movie,
not to give anything away... those listening to us instead of
actually watching the movie...
...but there's gotta be 50 guys dead
in the last gun battle.
If they're listening to us and they
haven't watched this movie already...
...I think we need to get them
to a psychiatrist right away, but...
But, see, that would be a bloodbath
that would live forever.
Having done a television documentary
for Investigating History...
...on the gunfight
at the O.K. Corral...
Of course, it's such a classic moment
of American law enforcement.
That's why it has remained
so famous.
But I differ with a lot
of my academic colleagues.
In fact, I was interviewing Stewart Udall
for one of these documentaries...
...and he and I have disagreed
for years...
...over the level of violence
in the West.
And I have many friends who spend
their whole careers trying to prove...
...that the West wasn't violent.
Of course, the kind
of Western history I do... a much more romantic kind
of Western history...
...and much more traditional than
a lot of the new Western history.
But to me, the West is just one great,
sweltering pit of violence.
And it's just violence
built on violence.
This may be because I've
just yesterday finished a script...
...on the Mountain Meadows Massacre
of 1857...
...and I'm pretty convinced that
the West is a horribly violent place.
I don't think that's the issue.
I don't think you're in disagreement.
I think the historians,
and most prominently...
...let's say Richard Maxwell Brown...
...I don't think they disagree
that the West...
...was an exceptionally violent place.
I think they would argue
that the violence was not of the kind...
...that Western movies mythologize...
...that it was less a case
of individual gunfighter violence...
...on the streets
of a dusty Western town...
...or the final scene in this movie,
as I recall... it was, you know,
patterns of collective violence:
Ethnic groups, labour violence... violence of one kind
or another...
...wars against Indians,
discriminations and riots...
...or violence against Chinese.
That kind of violence
was certainly pervasive.
The gunfighter duels that are
the staple of Western movies...
...were less common than...
And that's part of the reason...
But then, I guess,
the question becomes...
...not how common
or less common they were...
...but why people are so fascinated
by the O.K. Corral...
...if it was a relatively minor incident.
Or if it was more significant... what ways was it significant
of the larger patterns?
And there, the argument
has always been...
...or at least some historians
have argued...
...that what happened at
the O.K. Corral was emblematic...
...of larger post-Civil War conflicts...
...of what Richard Maxwell Brown
calls Civil War of Incorporation.
We actually just... Here's a plug.
We did a programme
at the Autry last June...
...with Richard Maxwell Brown,
David Milch from Deadwood...
...Chuck Michel...
...the chief attorney for the National
Rifle Association in California...
...and Mike Barnes, who's the head
of the Brady Campaign...
...for the control of handguns...
...and we asked them to talk about
how violence in the historical West...
...and the myths of violence
in the historical West...
...have informed and misinformed,
have shaped and misshaped...
...contemporary understandings
and debates...
...about gun control
in the United States.
This is why there will never be
gun control in the United States...
...because of the way
Costner's twirling those pistols.
It's just, these movies absolutely
glorify guns and violence, of course...
...and how any young person could
go and see a movie like this...
...and then not kind of swagger out
onto the street...
...and think, "Wow, that is so cool,"
you know, I mean, that's...
Now, I'm not blaming Westerns
for the level of violence in America.
But that is a common...
Actually, that is a...
You know, that is one line that's
always trotted out, that Westerns...
That we had a particularly violent
Western past...
...and that is responsible
for the violence today.
We did have
a very violent Western past...
...and we had
a very violent past period...
...and that is why we're still
a violent people today...
...and it's been interesting to me...
In fact, Steve, with the whole debate
over Western violence...
I mean, it's part of an effort, I think... pretend that violence
never occurred...
...because maybe somehow that'll stop
the violence that we live with today.
And while that, it seems to me,
is laudable in its sentiment... is incorrect in its confrontation
with reality.
It seems to me
that if we understood better...
...just why human beings are
the way they are...
...and then why we glorify violence
like we're doing right here... would help us today.
I think we live
in a far more violent time today...
...than the time of the Wild West.
In fact, I've always appreciated
the Western, in fact...
...and the violence in Westerns
because it seemed, to me... was in that Neverland place
that was kind of safe.
And cop shows and CSI shows...
...and what we see every day
on our television news today... unfortunately very, very real.
We can only hope
that the bad guys today...
...are as bad of shots
as these guys are in the movies.
Who take complete aim
at our protagonist...
...and still manage to miss them
every single time.
This scene is out of Butch Cassidy
and the Sundance Kid.
And I don't say that pejoratively.
I mean, that's nice.
I mean, he's really using his material.
Now they're out of the snow,
they've ridden out of the snow...
...and now we're down in the desert...
...because New Mexico provides
every possible...
Are you on the payroll of the
New Mexico Chamber of Commerce?
I am working with the New Mexico
Film Commission, yes, indeed.
And proud of it.
Our governor, Bill Richardson, who is
on television even more than I am...
...believes very strongly in
bringing filmmaking to New Mexico.
You're out-plugging me.
Your shameless plugs
for New Mexico...
...are outdoing mine for
the Autry National Center.
I'm trying
to do the best I can.
We gotta get these in quick...
...before Frank starts going on
about his 16 books that are out.
Look at that.
That's a great shot, actually, see.
The DVD of that June programme
that I talked about...
...with Milch,
Richard Maxwell Brown...
...Warren Olney moderated...
...and Mike Barnes and Chuck Michel,
is available...
...and to Autry National Center
members, so become a member.
Very nice, that's very nice.
You had a lot of big names there.
You never invite me
to the Autry office.
Paul, we would real... We would be
honoured by your presence.
Ever been invited to the Autry,
I've never been invited
pretty much anywhere.
I see. And there's a reason for that.
I actually did a huge exhibit on
General Custer at the Autry...
- Exactly, Paul.
- ...a few years ago.
We are honoured when Paul...
I love the Autry,
I love everything about it.
And it is indeed
one of the great institutions.
The Autry, the Buffalo Bill
National Cowboy Hall.
All are just wonderful
representations of the West.
- Good shooting right there.
- He lost his great hat.
Yeah, the only authentic
prop in the movie.
This is, by the way, exactly
the same place, I think...
...where they shot the big climax
in Wyatt Earp...
...where Wyatt Earp, Kevin Costner,
kills the Curly Bill Brocius character... the end of that film.
And where is this set?
How close to Santa Fe?
Oh, not far at all. It's Tent Rocks.
It's not very far at all.
Although now they've gone
to a different area...
...where they're shooting
this little scene.
It's the magic of movies.
You move around.
We were talking about
the problems of authenticity...
...on this series I'm doing,
Investigating History.
We're doing documentaries...
...and obviously we're really rigid
in trying to be historically accurate...
...but, of course, it's very difficult,
and just time and money makes it...
- Great shot there, by the way.
- Yeah, the four horsemen there.
Yeah, that's pretty fabulous.
Bad hat, though,
but otherwise wonderful.
But anyway, you know, you always
have to make compromises...'s just impossible...
What I love about a scene like this... just how much it
luxuriates in the Western.
- He's just...
- He's just... He's tearing up.
You can just see Kasdan
behind the camera, tears in his eyes.
- Or watching dailies, just going nuts.
- And who wouldn't?
"I'm so good,
I can hardly stand myself."
Well, when I was doing the gunfight
at the O.K. Corral setups...
...for our Investigating History show...
We shot it in Old Tucson...
...right where Burt Lancaster
and Kirk Douglas...
...had done
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
I gotta tell you, I was misty-eyed.
I just thought this was
so incredibly cool.
There's a great reveal for Silverado.
There it is, yeah. Although that's not
really at all where the real town is.
The wagon train.
See, movie's got everything.
It's got the town,
it's got the wagon train.
But no women,
no Mexicans, no Indians.
Picky, picky, picky. See, that's the...
This is the Old Western history.
Suddenly it came to me.
Steve and I, of course, engage
in this great academic debate...
...that academics spend
all their time doing over...
...the new Western history
and the Old Western history...
...and what the West means
to America...
This film, I think, is absolutely
the Old Western history...
- ...but with a little touch of the new.
- Made new.
- The Old Western history made new...
- Yeah. opposed to
the new Western history set old.
Set old, right.
Which is what Deadwood is.
- Absolutely.
- Deadwood is indeed.
Look, now he's got a different...
He's going for that ethnic costume,
though. Look at that.
Scared children.
This means the guys are gonna
have to do something.
It's not quite as bold, by this time,
to have a black hero in a film... it would've been even
15 years before this...
...but it's sort of interesting how
mainstream he is, as one of them.
Of course, this film really hearkens
back to The Magnificent Seven.
I think that...'s clear in this scene.
Except you can tell how much
times have changed...
...because in 1960,
they'll kill off most of the seven...
...but by this time,
they won't kill off the protagonist.
It's... We've grown into a happy-ending,
sort of movie-watching public.
- Well, either that or...
- It was already happening here.
Since Kasdan wrote Return of the Jedi
and Empire Strikes Back...
...if I'm not mistaken,
a sequel-ready studio system.
That is to say, they didn't make one,
but they left it possible to do one.
In fact, the Costner character... a character that you could just see
coming out in a sequel...
...if they had decided to do it.
Oh, the last scene in this movie...
...if it doesn't set up a sequel,
then what does it do?
Oh, don't give
the last scene away, Frank.
Sorry, folks.
Another, by the way, magnificent
New Mexico landscape, which is...
My kids live up in Durango, Colorado...
...and I actually drive right
past those cliffs every weekend...
...when I go up to pick them up.
I'll be doing it tomorrow.
And, truly, I think every time
I drive up there...'s a long drive,
but nevertheless I think:
"Wow, look at this landscape. Man."
And I say that
to my children, I say:
"Look at this. Aren't you lucky to be
living in a place this beautiful?"
And they go, "What?"
It definitely does add something... opposed to shooting
the Western in Griffith Park...
...or somewhere in the
Santa Clarita Valley...
...up at, well, where Melody Ranch is,
up there.
Oh, we're back in the snow.
You see that?
Once again, multi-climactic.
I'm not sure that's real snow.
That may be dress snow, there.
Let's see if there's breath. Well...
And now they're about
to institute a plan...
...that Laurel and Hardy
could've come up with...
...and with just about as much
Except not quite as funny.
Have you written a book
on Laurel and Hardy?
I never have.
I know you've written one on Lincoln,
you've done one on the Alamo...
- I've done five on the Alamo, thank you.
- Five on the Alamo.
You've kind of milked that one
all the way, haven't you, Frank?
- I've still got a few more in me.
- Okay.
So don't let me stop now.
Frank did the novelisation for
the current Disney film The Alamo... which he used me
as one of the characters...
...and I deeply appreciated that.
Never been a character
in a novel before.
I get to meet Davy Crockett
in the novel.
That was remarkably
easy on you too.
Paul is an expert on Davy Crockett,
amongst many other subjects.
Thank you, Steve, thank you.
"Shall I kill him?"
That's what I like about bad guys:
They never act
on their own initiative.
They're always looking
for instructions.
Which is why the hero always lives.
If the bad guy just did what
they should do, which is kill him...
There would be no
James Bond movies, at least.
I was just about to say, these guys
are like a James Bond villain.
- Yeah.
- "Well, let's tie him up...
- Yeah. "Let's tie him up here."
- ...and then aim a laser beam at him."
- If they'd just shot Scott Glenn...
- "Leave the rattlesnake to get him."
- This is a good grizzled character.
- Yes, I was just about...
I was about to say that, and so
I take back what I said, and he...
And look at his hat, by the way.
- The grizzled characters get good hats.
- Yeah.
Now, what had Scott Glenn done
before he did this?
Was this a big breakout role for him?
When did The Right Stuff come out?
- Several years earlier than this.
- Okay, so he was already established.
He loves Westerns, though.
I just saw him at the Golden Boot,
and he was...
Gave a speech and talked about
his love of the Western.
In fact, they showed clips
from this film at the presentation.
Actually, The Right Stuff
might've been around this time.
I think this was all
right around this time.
This was a major effort on Kasdan's
part to bring the Western back.
I remember, when it came out,
how impressed I was he'd do this...
...because he was really riding high.
And I think it's reflective of his power
at that time in Hollywood...
...but also reflective of his love
of the Western...
...that he sort of, you know,
bet the farm on the Western.
Now, we talked before about
the accuracy of good guys...
...and the problematic shooting
of bad guys...
...but what about, actually,
the guns and rifles that they're using?
Had a lot of talk about whether
the hats were accurate...
...whether the costumes were accurate,
the teeth as white as they appear...
...what about the actual guns
that they're using?
Did they put attention to that here?
Well, I think...
I mean, these are period weapons.
I can't tell whether that's
a Henry or a Winchester. I can't tell.
I think it is a Henry rifle.
They do say that.
I think, usually, they pay
a lot more attention to guns...
...than they do in this film.
To weapons.
It's kind of like weapons...
I mean, he really is creating
a fantasy world here.
I don't think he's making any pretence
that this is a historical Western...
...although it seems based...
You know, based in a historical setting.
Now he's stolen all their horses.
That was easy.
- Look, how could he...?
- He doesn't shoot, right.
He shot, he just missed.
Look, they're tripping over each other.
I see the Laurel and Hardy
aspect of this.
- But only bad guys' guns jam.
- Right.
And only bad guys run out of bullets.
I mean, you think about it,
you've only got six shots.
And, you know, if you fired one
of those pistols, let's say, 12 times...
...your chances of having a jam
are just astronomical.
Just going up and up.
I mean, they're black-powder weapons.
And it's just going to be
a real problem.
And the other thing you never see
in any Western, for the most part... the smoke that comes
from black-powder weapons...
...because if you did, then you wouldn't
be able to see the scene.
It's a real problem.
Now, what I like about this guy...
...the fourth member here,
who is from the wagon train...
...he's the nameless guy,
like in a Star Trek episode.
The second he elects to go along
with these three guys, he's dead.
You know he's dead...
...because we don't know what his
name is and he's not one of the stars.
And indeed he's got
about one minute to live.
You know, it's the role I've always
aspired to in Hollywood.
Oh, good shot.
- The first... Look at that.
- Yep.
The first shot
that actually hit them.
They get him with pistols at that range.
Man, you couldn't even...
You could not hit that mountain
with a.45 pistol.
But if that guy had aimed at
Scott Glenn, he would've missed.
Right. But he got that guy
dead in the chest.
Because he was the nameless guy.
You could make that shot with a rifle,
not with a pistol.
Nice wagon-train shot, by the way.
You could only get that scenic
in New Mexico.
I think some people in other parts
of the Front Range are in...
Yeah, and they would be wrong, Steve.
They would be wrong.
Not to introduce a technical note
into this thing...
...but I really wish this movie
had been shot in Panavision.
It was shot in Super Techniscope,
which is like Super 35...
...which is a kind of variable-shape...
...screen image.
And it just... It seems like it really
needs that wide-screen splendour.
I'm pretty darn impressed by that
little... What in the world was that?
I'll tell you, that Frank.
Well, he's written a dozen books or so,
just on the Alamo alone.
- And the technic...
- I've written 36 books, thank you.
- Thirty-six books.
- Yes.
- That's a career.
- I'll list them now...
...and that'll take us to reel four.
Thirty-six books.
Six of them, you've admitted,
are the same book...
- ...just repackaged, on the Alamo.
- Exactly.
Yes. Very good.
Yeah, and 12 of them are volumes
of my autobiography, so...
Yeah. I know.
Jeez, Paden!
Her old man ain't even cold yet.
This is such a beautifully shot film.
It really cries out for the wide screen,
don't you think?
- And it just doesn't have it.
- You know, I think they're...
Much like the people
who really know the question...
...of the type of holsters these
guys are wearing...
...I think the audience that understands
the nature of the screen frame... in the same numbers.
That would be one handful
out there in movie land.
- If you're a film buff, you'd care.
- You would know, though.
And Frank is not only a film buff,
but a film expert.
And here's the wagon train...
I mean, this guy's doing everything.
They did the same thing in
Wyatt Earp, Costner and cast.
I mean, they're doing
the entire Western story... it's every scene
you could possibly do.
Here's, you know,
the wagon train crossing the...
Crossing the river, la Red River.
I mean, it's the river crossing.
There's the shot from inside the wagon.
That's right out of Red River.
- Right out of How the West Was Won.
- Yeah.
How the West Was Won is the movie
that attempts to put...
...every single Western clich
into one movie.
That one stretches out
to three and a half hours...
...whereas this one gets it in
in two hours and a bit.
- Costner once said...
- That was in Cinerama...
...and it would bore the audience
if we were to talk about that.
Cinerama is another whole problem...
...and it leaves those awful lines
on the screen now when you watch it.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Costner said How the West Was Won
was his favourite movie as a kid...
...and I think that's borne out
in both this film...
...which he didn't have
that much control over...
...but, certainly, Wyatt Earp...
...which does the railroad, the wagon
train, the gunfights, the buffalo.
You know, the railroad is
the missing element in this movie.
If you're going to have...
...that one extra
thing in a Western movie...
...usually the railroad can come in
in some way...
...and here there is no railroad yet.
The railroad should be
coming into Silverado at some point.
And if it doesn't come
into Silverado...
...then Silverado becomes
a ghost town.
The mules on the wagon train are
a really nice touch and very authentic.
When we did this
Mountain Meadows Massacre show...
...we had a huge budget meeting
and debate...
...on whether we were gonna do
mules, horses or oxen... be absolutely authentic, you know,
since it is the History Channel.
And, of course, how expensive
it is to get a yoke of oxen these days...
...which is something
I hadn't known before.
Just how much it costs
to get a yoke of oxen...
...helped us to decide on horses.
- Horses are very nice.
- And cheap.
Yeah, nice and cheap.
Although they eat a lot,
and you gotta feed them.
I mean, just...
This is actually a big, big production.
Oh, there she is again.
A little smile.
You know, you can't even tell
she's a gal yet, hardly.
Yeah, this is the beginning
of the confusing part of the triangle...
...if it is a triangle...
...because she's sort of pairing off
with Kevin Kline here.
- Now, is...?
- Later on, it'll just go somewhere else.
Could I just comment how odd it is that
the wagon train is going off the road...
...and the two guys are riding on...
Oh, there's two roads.
I don't know what I...
The trail has diverged.
It shows how little I know.
And see the people walking?
This is very authentic, by the way.
Most people who were
on wagon trains...
Not most, all people
on wagon trains walked...
...because you didn't wanna
wear your stock out.
One often had to dump out
things along the way... the stock wore out.
Along the way. It's how they built
Salt Lake City:
By going along the trail, collecting
all the stuff the forty-niners had left.
And here's this wonderful
movie set they built...
...not very far from Santa Fe.
Was built especially for this movie...
...and it's still a major movie set
there today.
It's where we shot
The Missing recently.
We used it in some of our
television documentaries.
Of course, Wyatt Earp was shot here.
Lonesome Dove was shot here.
That's a great shot...
...and that was sort of the view
from when I lived in Santa Fe...
...before I donated that house
to my second wife.
That was my view from my window.
It was just incredible.
I loved that house.
Yeah, most movie sets
have curves in them... they appear to be
infinite around corners.
And speaking of curves,
here's Rosanna Arquette, finally.
But Silverado is almost unique among
Western towns in movies... that it's just one long,
straight street.
- And clearly, quite a sizeable set.
- Yeah.
- It's a big set.
- Just even from that last shot, it's...
Unless they do something very
clever with painting...
No, no, it's all there.
And it's interesting, in fact...
...because fire is so integral
to the climax of this film.
Not very long ago,
half that set burned down...
...and they lost it.
And it was a big, big fire out there.
Because they don't like what I want.
She's got a nice hat.
- And good teeth.
- I almost misheard you, so...
She's making an assumption
about herself there, I suppose.
I don't know.
Now we're watching.
Finally, a female appears...
...and we're actually watching
the film for the first time.
We're absolutely captivated.
So she's working, you see.
We say, "There she is,
there's a pond...
...maybe a bathing scene
is coming."
I thought Paul
would at least mention...
...that there were some lovely trees
there in the New Mexico landscape.
This is a different...
This is a different ranch.
It's called the Cook Ranch,
and it's also very near Santa Fe.
And this house sits there,
and that pond is there.
We used this for "Butch Cassidy
& the Sundance Kid."
We've been shooting these television
documentaries around Santa Fe...
...and so we used all of these sets.
And there's a Western town set
connected with this.
And part of Cook Ranch, also,
was that adobe fort we saw... the very beginning.
And so it's a wonderful set.
A lady runs this big ranch,
and she just rents, you know...
She's built these movie buildings,
she keeps them up, they're wonderful...
...and she uses them to supplement
her income as a rancher...
...because, as you know, it's tough
times for ranchers in the West, guys.
This has a more
Georgia O'Keeffe look, though.
I'll tell you, I used to...
When I drove home...
...from the University of New Mexico
back up to my house in Santa Fe... was 75 miles.
I'd always time it right around
6, 7:00...
...depending on the time of the year,
and get that light.
- That is spectacular.
- And it's just spectacular.
And you understand why artists,
and now filmmakers, love New Mexico.
That's not a plug for New Mexico,
that's a statement of fact.
The light is breathtaking.
I will not disagree.
Joe Seneca, he's a great
old character actor.
What else has he been in?
He goes back all the way to the '30s.
He was in a lot of those...
...all-black-cast films
of the '30s and '40s...
...and then...
...seems to have disappeared
from the screen for many years...
...and then, in the '70s and '80s,
started showing up again.
Always in minor roles, sadly.
"Gone to town."
That's always a bad...
In the Western, that's always
a bad, bad sign, "Gone to town"...
...because we know what town is.
There's nothing good in town.
- And in this case, she's... We're right.
- Yeah.
"Gone to town."
But, again, I think there's something
that David Milch has brought forward... a grittier way than other Westerns,
in terms of brothel culture in...
Oh, my goodness, yes.
And it's very authentic.
- Yeah, I know.
- Truly. I mean, it really is, and...
Very well done.
Although the power of that show...
We're not doing commentary
on Deadwood...
...but the power of that show is
the brilliance of the writing.
- Yeah.
- Which really relates to this.
Kasdan's real strength...
I mean, he's getting great scenes here.
Doesn't miss his shot, but he's just
such a brilliant writer and storyteller.
Although he has a...
There is a meandering quality
to Kasdan's scripts.
I mean, they...
He is not constricted by structure,
as many screenwriters seem to be.
- Let's call it leisurely.
- Leisurely, yeah.
But it's relaxing. It's nice.
Many of the great Westerns,
though, are.
Wouldn't you say, Frank?
They really are.
They're very leisurely films...
...they take a while getting
where they're going...
...then it builds to the big climax.
I mean, that's the nature of it.
And landscape is so vital
and so integral to the story...
...that you spend a lot of time
showing scenics.
But I think that's one of the things...
...that frustrates some
with Kevin Costner's Westerns...
...that they are long.
And that in the new
Hollywood sensibility...
...having a three-hour-plus movie
is not okay, commercially.
It's problematic.
And yet Kevin Costner would say:
"No, to do the story the way
that I wanna do it... have to sort of let it
play out in Western time."
It's always been a problem
with theatre owners, of course...
...because the longer a film, the less
showings you can get per day...
...especially in the evenings,
on weekends, during your big time.
It's sort of interesting now...
...with the growth of the medium
we're dealing with right here, DVD...
...has really changed all the rules.
Now you can make a film that
people are gonna watch... a more leisurely setting at home.
And now that DVDs are responsible
for more income than the box office...
...for films, which is just astonishing,
but nevertheless true...
...I think we're gonna...
I think it's freed up filmmakers.
Well, the advent of director's cut... well as deleted scenes
as packages...
And this is a movie that
I would love to know...
...what both a director's cut
might look like... terms of it stretching out
and fleshing out...
...some of the themes that are
hinted at but not fully fleshed out...
...and also what some of
the deleted scenes might be...
...that they would choose.
Right. They...
I'm actually in the DVD
that was just released...
...of cast in Costner's Wyatt Earp.
I did a "making of" documentary...
...did a talking-head gig for CBS
back when the film came out...
...and they had that documentary on...
...but my wife, who I didn't know
at the time... in one of the deleted scenes.
She's in the wedding scene.
And so there we are.
That's kind of kismet, I suppose.
- It was meant to be.
- It was meant to be.
It's interesting that as attention spans
seem to be getting shorter...
...the average film today
is substantially longer...
...than the average film was,
say, 30 years ago.
That's true, yeah.
And I'm not quite sure
how to account for that.
And if you go farther back,
to the '30s... was common for films
to be 60 minutes long.
Now all movies are well over
two hours, it seems like.
It's rare to see anything
shorter than that.
Well, two. I think
they tend to be two hours...
...then in the teen market, an hour
and 50-something minutes, max.
But I think the old, you know,
sort of the Gene Autry Westerns...
...that clocked in
at 73 minutes or something...
...but were shown as double features.
Or not shown...
Just, you know, they're very short.
The dusters were big
after the Italian Westerns.
The Italian Westerns really
made the duster a part.
And so did Walter Hill.
You know, in The Long Riders,
Walter Hill did a lot for the duster.
Are those actually accurate
to the period?
Yes, they... Well, I'm not sure this one
he's wearing is...
...which is very stylish, very nice.
Either there or in the
J. Peterman catalogue.
Look at that. That's a saloon
worthy of St. Louis, of course...
...but nevertheless,
here it is in Silverado.
Sort of smoky, but not too smoky.
Smoky, but not too smoky.
Because if was as smoky
as it should be...
...we wouldn't be able
to see anything.
The second major female
character has arrived.
And the only one who actually
has a full personality through...
That's true.
And, again, I think they're
sort of edgy characterisations that...
...Kasdan was doing,
in terms of this show.
Well, the protagonists are all
liberal guys, aren't they? You know?
She had just done
The Year of Living Dangerously...
...where she had played
a Eurasian woman.
- Eurasian boy. That's the whole point.
- God, you're right, boy. That's right.
She was so brilliant.
Yeah, she is such a fine actress.
Stella, are you
the midnight star herself?
He went to Indiana University
when I was there.
And he was big in the drama school.
- You didn't teach him, though?
- No, no, I was a student.
- Oh, okay.
- I'm very young, Steve.
I don't know if you knew that.
He's much older than I... Kline is
much older than I am, of course.
It's just that your distinguished career
leads me to think...
Yeah, you would think.
I just started out... I started out young.
That's a good line.
A lot of British accents
in this Western.
- But, in fact, in reality...
- Lot of British capital in the West.
There would be a lot of accents
in the West.
You really would be meeting a lot of
people with a lot of different accents.
As I said, a lot of British money
maybe made its way into the West.
I'm not sure how many British accents
would've gotten there.
Wouldn't have gotten there...
Well, think about Billy the Kid,
and the whole story of Billy the Kid...
...which we also just did
in Investigating History.
And, actually, the governor has
appointed me as the historian...
...on the project to dig up
Billy the Kid...
...which has met with
considerable resistance...
...from citizens of some of the towns
in New Mexico, especially Silver City.
They object because...?
Well, they're afraid
that we won't find him.
My goodness,
that'll be a little problem.
And, of course, one
of the central characters in that... a British rancher who hires Billy,
and he's killed, and so...
And the men who kill him are all Irish.
I mean, they're immigrants.
Lincoln County, New Mexico,
very isolated in the 1870s...
...was full of foreign folk.
But that's what America is, I believe.
A nation of immigrants, if I recall.
And I'm an immigrant myself,
so there you go.
That's a nice...
Look, he's got a new hat.
Isn't that a new hat,
that white one? That's nice.
- But still, very white teeth.
- Yeah.
Well, he's a great villain
because he takes such joy in his evil.
- He is. He's very good.
- He's just always in such a good mood.
Well, he's such a good actor,
anyway, too.
Actually, I think he's a more
interesting villain...
...than most Westerns have...
...because he's not entirely...
Well, I mean, he's bad,
but he's not entirely bad.
Right, and those are the best.
You've either gotta be the sort of
happy-go-lucky villain like this guy...
...or you've just gotta be so evil
that you just exude it, and people...
- The Darth Vader kind of figure.
- Right.
People are just so in awe
of your evil.
This is a great moment.
That's gonna be trouble.
See, the law is corrupt.
And often in the Western,
the law is corrupt.
And you know what?
Often in the West, the law was corrupt.
It's just so interesting.
Now we're back
at the Tent Rock area...
...which is doubling
for this guy's homestead.
And Joe Seneca, very ill-advisedly,
puts his gun down... a great distance from where
he's going out into the open.
That's another Western
shorthand scene...
...that you know
he's going to be dead soon.
- No way around it.
- And now he's heard something.
That's bad.
Nice patch.
Yeah. Now, that guy is much more in
the straight villain line.
The eye patch.
Yep. This is gonna be bad.
Now, what exactly does Danny Glover
want to do with his land here?
Is that ever explained?
- You know...
- He wants to homestead it.
It's never explained in any Western.
I mean, think about Shane.
They're trying to build a farm.
It's clearly... They're at 7000 feet.
You couldn't grow anything
up in the Grand Tetons, you know.
I mean, it's all sage prairie.
But nevertheless,
they're fighting the ranchers.
What exactly is this land
going to be good for...
...other than as ranch land?
Because, you know, out in the West,
you just want a piece of land.
That's what it's about in America
in the 19th century.
It's always about land.
He could build
a bed and breakfast there.
You see why they call them
the Tent Rocks.
Another plug for scenic New Mexico.
Again, this is where the final climactic
gunfight in the Wyatt Earp movie is.
It's also a scene in Young Guns.
Big gunfight takes place there
in Young Guns.
And it's not far from Cochiti.
It's not very far from Santa Fe.
- He's gonna be mad now.
- Yeah.
The hat.
Well, the bad guys took the rifle,
but they left the hat.
You know, and good hats like that
are in short supply.
- Now we have the revenge setup.
- Right.
Which is always important
in the Western.
And indeed, as you look
at Western history...
...revenge seems to be
motivating a lot of people.
And, of course, in our own time...
...we understand that revenge
motivates whole nations.
And seems to be
a very strong motivator.
Let's simply examine
the headlines, shall we?
Yeah, you don't have to go far.
You know, in fact, I wonder if...
...on a serious note, I guess...
...I wonder if current events don't make
Westerns like this resonate more...
...and these themes, these powerful
themes in good Westerns... for people
in a way they didn't... the last, calmer
20 years we've had...
...where indeed we didn't seem
to be confronting evil.
Actually, that'll be
an interesting point... see if there is a revival
of the Western...
...precisely because it did allow people
to see the world... starker terms of good and evil,
the classic Western.
The classic Western always does.
And in a way that, again, I think that
Manichaean view has been revived.
Well, in the classic Western,
also, the good...
The stark contrast between
good and evil...
In the best of the Westerns,
your hero is...
Your protagonist is often a man
of mixed feelings...
...and is sort of torn...
...but, finally, always does
the right thing.
- Think of Shane, think of High Noon.
- High Noon.
- Think of The Searchers.
- Right.
I mean, it's always
that moral problem.
That goes way back
to William S. Hart.
They called him the "good bad man."
And so it's present from the very
earliest Westerns that we have.
Well, I think even Deadwood...
...which is not that sort of
good/evil, easily cast...
...but even there, the Bullock character
ultimately is a troubled person...
...but clearly trying, in some way,
to do the right thing.
Well, he's the lawman who
wants to hang up his badge...
...but now has to put it back on.
It's the Wyatt Earp story.
Even more interesting is
the saloon owner...
...the Swearengen character...
...who turns out to be a man
of real moral centre.
Or at least a man of some vision...
...that the future requires
adaptability and change.
Absolutely. Yeah.
In his evil, does all sorts of good.
It's just stunning.
Right, and that is,
in some ways, though, again...
...going back to the Western frame.
That sort of hero who isn't...
Doesn't wanna wear the badge again...
...or the Gary Cooper character
in High Noon...
...who has to do what he has to do
ultimately, even if he's troubled by it.
That's good shooting.
See, now, that establishes
that he is good with his gun.
You know, so he's the one bad guy
that doesn't miss.
Well, you've gotta have that set up...
...or else the final scene
with Kevin Kline won't mean anything.
That is true.
And so you must always set
your villain up as being powerful.
Look at that, he spilled a little coffee
on himself. I hate that.
- When you fire your gun and...?
- Yeah.
I think Dennehy is very much
a textured character in this...
...because he's willing to do
what has to be done...
...but if he doesn't have to do bad,
he doesn't.
- I mean, he sort of...
- Right.
He sort of... In his own mind, he knows
that he just has to go the limit.
Now, why is the sheriff wearing
chaps, though? I'm puzzled by that.
He's not out on the range.
He's in town.
I mean, but he's got
these leather chaps on.
- It's just a fashion statement.
- I see, okay.
I'd like to see Rosanna Arquette
in those, but...
That's a different movie.
By the way, having been an extra
in a couple of films...
...I now pay a lot of attention
to the extras in the background.
This is a great introduction
to Goldblum. I love his...
A very Western character, of course.
The most Western
of all of our characters here.
But I love him as an actor.
I mean, I just think he's great.
- Another stylish guy, with his fur coat.
- Yeah.
Nice hat. You know, that's...
That's good.
That's a good line because you
don't often see that in Westerns.
After a killing, it is a mess,
and who's gonna clean it up?
You always wonder.
Who comes around and actually picks
up the dead bodies, takes them away?
But isn't that one of the things that...?
Not dead bodies...
...but that sheriffs certainly had to do
in towns like this...
-, at least, clean up the mess.
- Yeah.
You know, shovel off
the horse manure...
...or at least drag off the drunks
from the street, at some point.
Well, something you never see in
Westerns is just the manure problem.
I mean, it really is just an incredible
problem in Western towns...
...and everywhere in the 19th century.
Well, until they invent Smell-o-vision,
or until that gets spread...
- ...we're gonna have a tough time...
- Look at that street, though.
- Do you see a cowpatty anywhere?
- There are horses everywhere.
Horses everywhere, no one
seems to be doing anything.
And no mud.
I mean, it's also just a...
Not too dusty, not too muddy.
- Just nice and clean.
- Nice and clean.
- There she is, she's gone to town.
- The fallen woman, yeah.
Oh, you hate to see that.
It's gonna break his heart.
And he's having a tough day.
Yeah, well, Dad's dead.
Yeah, there you go.
And you were saying
there weren't female...
There are a lot of female roles
in this movie, Frank.
I think we were saying there were not
a lot of fully developed female roles.
Where were you when they
needed you? It's too late, Mal.
Mal hasn't been doing
what a man's gotta do:
Protecting the homestead.
See, he's got that...
...really nice hat,
which is completely inauthentic.
And sideburns.
Well, there we go.
That's very nice.
You know, the professional gambler
really was a major character... Western history, of course.
And some of them
have become famous.
But there was a whole culture...
...and it lived off the underside
of Western boomtown life.
And they ran a circuit.
They would move from town to town,
and they all knew each other...
...and they were often involved
in these violent acts.
That's why they're so famous.
Men like Ben Thompson, Bill Longley.
And they are responsible for a lot
of our famous Wild West stories...
...and a lot of the violence.
And this was all before poker became
the new cable TV...
- That's right, before poker... Yeah.
- Cable TV staple.
Yeah, they would be bucking the tiger
back in those days. We have the dance.
- But did they play Texas Hold'em?
- No, they did not play Texas Hold'em.
- Okay.
- Another great Western tradition:
Any time you see the homesteaders
getting together for a party... know trouble's coming.
Nobody ever got to the end of a party
and just cleared off the tables.
No, all the tables have to be upturned.
And here, I don't know about you,
but I find this inexplicable.
This Scott Glenn suddenly being
the romantic connection to...?
Yeah, when did this happen?
I don't know.
I'm just assuming there must be
other scenes that were shot...
...that would ease us over
from Kevin Kline to Scott Glenn, but...
Well, you know, she's sort of the only
really pretty girl in the whole movie...
...and so I think they're gravitating
to her. I think that would be natural.
But each one of them seems to
have to be moving on, of course... wonderful Western tradition.
And I think it's fair to say
that a single white woman...
...might be better off not being single.
And here they come.
Here come the bad guys, of course.
This is gonna be trouble.
Again, Paul, not to take issue with
your love of New Mexican landscape...
...but explain to me again where
the appropriate farmland is there.
You know, you can irrigate.
Of course, this is all up by Santa Fe,
and it's pretty tough.
Pretty tough growing season.
We used to, when I lived up there...
- Oh, my God!
- They shot a pig.
- They shot a pig.
- See, I'll take a lot, but not that.
That is bad. Oh, look at that.
That's the old...
And now it's even worse.
They're destroying the barbecue.
Oh, he's gonna die.
That's not gonna work.
Yep. And why?
Because we don't know who he is.
- See that little adobe house there?
- Good shot, though.
That is the house we use
in our documentary...
...on Butch Cassidy
and the Sundance Kid... kill Butch and Sundance.
We used that for Bolivia.
That's a little movie magic for you.
TV magic.
Because this is out at the Cook Ranch,
where they're doing it.
Good shot.
You know, all of them seem to have
the same kind of rifles.
You know, if you have
an eye patch like that...
...wearing the kerchief
over your mouth and nose...
...seems a little superfluous,
doesn't it?
He's a fairly identifiable guy.
Oh, he's going after them.
Oh, that's nice.
- That was a Gene Autry kind of mount.
- Yeah, absolutely.
Very, very nicely done.
We won't quit! You bastards!
- Is that a fair mix?
- I'm saving lives here.
The straight stuff
would blister boot leather.
That is a very traditional scene,
you know.
The old attack on the homesteaders,
they're not gonna give up.
And again, and I don't mean this
in a negative way...
...just the use of all these
old Western clichs.
And they're all in here...
...because this is a homage,
in many ways... the grand old Westerns.
Which is kind of a problem.
As they attempted,
like Kasdan's doing here... reinvent the Western and
make it relevant to modern audiences...
...they're both bound by the past
and at the same time...
...trying to do something new,
and it's a tough transition.
Nothing happened, Tyree.
How did he get there?
Last I saw, he was chasing
the bad guys.
- And now he's got a different outfit.
- He just kept a-riding, that's all.
By the way, women in the saloon
was a complete no-no.
The saloon was the man's world.
And one of the reasons
women were not in the saloon...
...was to avoid this very problem,
of guys getting drunk...
One of the reasons
the West was so violent...
...and one of the reasons
that so few people were killed...
It goes hand in hand. that much of the violence
grew out of the saloon culture.
And after, you know,
a whole day of drinking...
...because they started early
and they went late...
...when you finally got into that brawl,
you couldn't hit anyone with a gun.
But you could do some damage
to one another...
...with fists, knives, bites
and so forth.
At least, this is the certain...
The earlier backwoods culture...
...where people did a lot
of eye-gouging, nose-biting.
The whole problem
with dentistry, again...
...and why people did not
have perfect teeth.
Because they were getting
knocked out all the time.
I should have killed you long ago.
But they had refined their fisticuffs
dramatically by the late 19th century.
After the Civil War, they'd gotten
away from that Davy Crockett...
Right, they didn't bite noses off
quite as rapidly.
The I-let-my-toenails-grow-this-long-so-
I-can-gouge-out-people's-eyes culture.
But I don't think...
You know, in the South...
...nose-biting really was,
as we understand it... affront to one's honour.
I'm not sure, in the Old West,
it had quite the same...
Quite the same value.
One of the commentaries, in fact,
on the famous fight...
...between the homesteader
and Shane at the...
You know, before the climactic
gunfight in Shane.
- In the bar.
- No, no, no.
Later, when they're fighting
at the ranch.
When he's beating him
so he won't interfere with him...
...going down to face down
the bad guys.
It's just how realistic it is.
They're just kind of gouging each other
and wrestling and rolling around...
...instead of the traditional fistfight
that we see so often in Westerns.
Especially those Gene Autry Westerns.
- Gene only used his fists.
- Yeah, he only uses his fists.
- That's the cowboy code.
- Yeah.
And again,
coming into the ranch there...
...with a beautiful New Mexico
mountain in the background.
- There's a nice little stunt.
- Nice little stunt.
- For what purpose, I'm not sure.
- Well, that's this little kid.
Now the kid's in trouble.
See, now they're picking on kids.
They shot a pig and now
they're picking on this little kid.
They've established their
credentials as bad, yeah.
What's the problem, Swan?
Yeah, what's the problem?
And he seems to intervene
even when he's not needed.
I mean, like, you know...
- Emmett.
- McKendrick.
And they have a past.
But it's never exactly clear how
they all knew each other.
That's because we've been talking
through this whole movie...
...rather than paying attention.
Well, the Scott Glenn character
killed his father and went to jail for it.
Because I've actually watched
this film, so I know this.
But that seems to be about it.
Why he killed him, we're not quite sure.
Or else I just forgot.
He killed him because a man's gotta do
what a man's gotta do, and I think...
Oh, there's the guy with the patch.
So these are the guys
who attacked Scott Glenn...
- the very beginning of the film.
- Right.
And that's how he ended up
with this horse...
- ...which started out their horse.
- That's right.
It's all wheels within wheels.
And indeed horses were
very important in the West...
...and horse thievery
was a major crime...
...kind of like stealing cars today,
no question about it.
People were always stealing
people's horses...
...and people were always getting
very, very upset about it.
And they truly would hang you for it.
Usually without a trial...
...because why bother with that?
Some places, horse stealing
carried a stiffer penalty...
...than crimes against people.
Yes, indeed. Yes, indeed.
They had a very high sense
of property values in the Old West...
...because they didn't have
a lot of property.
And when you worked as hard
for what they had... just didn't take it well that
people would take it away from you.
And people often took the law
into their own hands.
Which is one of the reasons that
that collective violence... were talking about earlier
was so common.
I mean, the vigilantes up in Montana,
I believe, hanged about 50 people...
...during their run...
...and at least 20 of them
deserved to be hanged.
I was gonna say, who deserved it?
Well, it starts breaking down
about midway...
...and they start not being particular
about who they're stringing up.
If you listen to what vigilantes say,
they all deserve it.
They all deserve, yes.
But usually, when people look
a little more closely... who the victims were
and who the vigilantes were...
...sometimes they discover patterns
that move away from good and evil...
...or enforcing the law in the absence
of duly appointed authorities.
There were other agendas in play.
It quickly comes
to settling old scores...
...or taking care of economic issues.
- Yeah.
- What a handy way to do it.
This sheriff's office was used
as the telegraph office in The Missing.
I can tell because
of the window placements.
Is that bar set still there,
or is that an interior somewhere else?
That saloon, I believe, burned down.
No, it was an interior there
at the ranch...
...but it burned down.
Half the set burnt.
It was a huge fire, great big fire.
- They rebuild?
- No, no, they didn't.
And, in fact, some of the buildings
are still marked.
So unless they come up with a Western
that needs a burned-out set...
Oh, it was completely destroyed, yeah.
They saved one of the streets
and some of the outbuildings...
...but this big saloon was one of
the buildings that was touched by fire.
Actually, it's still there, part of it is,
but it's not dressed out anymore.
Those Western towns
are very vulnerable to that.
Old Tucson burned down.
Didn't Melody Ranch burn down?
Melody Ranch? Yeah, I mean, they...
It's back in use, though, today.
That's where they're shooting
Deadwood now.
I heard. I couldn't believe
they were shooting Deadwood there.
Somewhere, Gene Autry
is rolling over in his grave... the way in which the
Melody Ranch has been reutilised.
They gave the Golden Boot for
Best Western to Deadwood this year.
- Really?
- There was murmuring in the crowd.
You could tell that there's a lot
of mixed feeling on that.
- I just think it's so brilliantly written.
- Right.
Much like this movie.
This is a very finely written film...
...and characterisations are great.
What he really does in Deadwood,
like Kasdan can do... he creates
these very compelling characters.
He has the advantage, though,
of being able to stretch it out...
...over 12 hours or whatever
in a season.
This movie, because it's down
to two hours and 10 minutes...
...the truncated time frame
limits a little bit...
...that leisurely development
of character.
Everything has to be done
in shorthand, of course.
Most of the characters
are fairly well developed.
I think Jeff Goldblum is probably not...
You never get much of a sense of who...
- Who he is.
- Or what side he's on until the end...
...when he clearly turns.
But you don't really know why he did.
How many of these characters
are in The Big Chill?
- Kevin Kline, Jeff Goldblum.
- Kevin Kline, Jeff Goldblum.
Kevin Costner is the corpse.
Kevin Costner is the corpse
who's being laid out at the beginning.
Which is why I think he gets this role.
It's to make up for that.
Danny Glover is in other movies
of Kasdan.
- He's been in Grand Canyon.
- Right, Grand Canyon.
- It was definitely... He had a...
- He has a stock company.
He has a company, and I think
that's also not atypical of Westerns...
...that they depended on their group.
No, it's interesting.
I complained earlier about how Eastern
the sensibilities of the actors are...
...and how identified they are with
more urban dramas and everything.
But, of course, the story of the West is
that everybody came from some place.
For the most part, even by the 1870s,
no one had been born there.
- Except the ethnic people, of course.
- People had been born there.
But you know what I mean.
In terms of the population,
the vast majority of the population...
...they were coming from somewhere
else. Especially the white folks.
Except in a place like New Mexico...
...where you did have a significant
population of people...
Of Mexican people.
At least, in and around
the Rio Grande Valley.
The Hispanic population had
been there for hundreds of years...
...and the, of course, native population
had been there for hundreds of years.
And that's, as we've said,
entirely absent in this movie.
Right. But all the white people would
have come from somewhere else.
Within, in fact... Unless they were
descendants of old mountain men...
...and then they're going
to be half-blood...
...because they're gonna be
from mixed marriages.
All the white people...
Would've come within
the last 10 or 15 years.
- Especially after the railroad.
- Right.
Nice saddle. Look at that.
And, of course,
all the Western history buffs...
...are going nuts over the saddles.
They're very modern.
That is a particularly spectacular
gun he has.
- And here he is just doing a fast draw.
- And I'm sure that's a period tin can.
Yeah, the old tin can.
Look at that. Very nice.
I do not believe that cactus,
by the way, is native to this area...
...and is a piece of set dressing.
This guy's making a serious mistake.
This is where they beat him up,
and thus he's gonna be mad.
Even madder later.
But once again...
...instead of simply just shooting
him in the head...
And getting this over with, yeah.
They decide to ride over him
a couple times, breaking his ribs...
...and then complain
that he's not dead yet.
You know, they all have guns.
Just shoot him.
But, you know, if they did, Frank,
let me explain a little cinema.
- I'm not quite sure what you mean.
- Let me explain a little cinema to you.
If they just shot him,
then we'd have no movie.
But it is true. Why do they have to ride
a horse back and forth over him?
It's working for me. I don't...
- You know...
- But we will have a little bit...
...of payback later on,
so he is setting up...
Major payback.
They're setting up major payback later.
- And payback in kind.
- Right.
They're really mad at him because he's
wearing that very modern holster...
...that is not correct to the period.
- Danny Glover to the rescue.
- There we go.
Oh, see, now they're gonna shoot him.
They just wanted to torture him first.
Now, see, I don't understand that line,
"I don't wanna kill you." Why not?
What is the issue here? Now, here's
a good guy making the same error...
...and this often happens
in the Western...
...some sort of moral sensibility
preventing him from killing them all.
- That was good.
- He had to wait for the person to draw.
Danny Glover has the same rules
that John Wayne did.
You don't fire until
you've been fired upon...
- ...that's just all there is to it.
- That's the Gene Autry cowboy code...
- That's right.
- ...right there.
You don't shoot first and you don't
shoot anyone who's unarmed.
If you have to shoot them,
the shoulder will do.
- Right.
- Here's the way the West really worked:
Out in Cimarron, New Mexico,
in the 1870s...
...Davy Crockett's grandson...
Well, grandnephew, lived...
...and he was named Davy Crockett,
and he was a bad, bad character...
...and he had killed two buffalo soldiers
in the saloon there in Cimarron...
...and every time he came into town,
he caused trouble and upset people...
...because he was just always
threatening people and mouthing off...
...and just a bad-news guy.
So three of the leading citizens
of the town got their shotguns...
...waited for him the next time
he rode into town...
...and blew him out of the saddle
with the shotguns from ambush.
And then they held a coroner's jury
and they declared themselves... have engaged
in justifiable homicide.
And that's how they really took care
of bad guys in the Old West.
- It's succinct, it's to the point.
- To the point and no problem.
- Gets the job done.
- No problem.
Again, not worrying about the niceties
about shooting someone in the hand... have their gun fly away.
Well, that's a Gene Autry thing,
you know.
- Gene Autry, Roy Rogers thing.
- Takes a particularly skilled eye.
Also, of course, you have to do that
because you make films for children...
...and you don't wanna teach them
the wrong lesson.
Teaching children they can shoot
people's guns out of their hands...
- not good either.
- That goes back to the language issue.
In the Hayes Code era and the like,
you had to be careful about language... why not just have the character
be very laconic.
Then you don't have to worry about
whether they cuss...
- ...because they just say very little.
- You can't say anything anyway.
Can't use language
to its most effective...
And in the newer Westerns... almost never hear anyone
called a sidewinder anymore.
- I regret this.
- I do too. I do too.
The loss of Gabby Hayes
has been sad for all of us.
"You old sidewinder!"
Yeah, I remember that.
You know, I'm still reacting
to the shooting of that pig.
That really bothered me
for some reason.
It was a cute little pig, you know,
and I'm having flashbacks... the movie Babe the Pig,
you know what I mean?
Which I had to watch with my kids
over and over...
...and we couldn't eat bacon
for the longest time.
And we talk about the way pigs have
been transformed in the new Western.
- In Deadwood, of course, the pigs...
- Oh, they eat the people, that's right.
They serve as the all-purpose
garbage dump...
...including the way to get rid of...
So pigs, I'm afraid,
they've lost their cuteness now.
As you know, because you and I both
study the early American frontier...
...which bonds us, of course...
...and this allows us, also, to use
the term "frontier" in Western history...
- Which we use very proudly.
- We use proudly. Arrogantly, in fact.
But indeed there was a problem
back then with wild pigs.
Truly attacking children
and that sort of thing.
Well, the frontier settlers... early American Appalachian
frontier regions...
...they still, through the 19th century,
just left their pigs to run wild.
- That's absolutely right.
- Made them easy to take care of.
Plenty of forage for them to eat.
But it turned them into
pretty wild animals pretty quickly.
And you know one of the things you
never see in the wagon-train movies...
...are all the pigs
that would be waddling along.
But truly, pigs, goats, cows,
I mean, it's...
In the wagon train for the Mountain
Meadows show that I'm doing... of our problems was this wagon
train that was wiped out in 1857...
...had 900 head of cattle with them,
taking them to California.
And, you know, we couldn't afford
900 cows, so...
- You just do that with CGI?
- We do, yeah.
But it just shows you the kind of stock
that people would be driving...
...which meant they had herders
along with it.
I've done some work on Kit Carson...
...and one of the most amazing stories
about Kit Carson is that he and...
This is in '50, I think, 1850, '51.
...he and a couple
of his old mountain-man buddies...
...decide that they're going to take
5000 head of sheep...
...from Taos and Santa Fe
across the Sierras... the California goldfields.
Thinking they're gonna
make a killing by selling...
And they do. They buy up,
at 25 cents a head...
...every sheep in New Mexico...
...and they herd them,
can you believe this, all the way up.
They go up the Front Range
and then over on the California Trail...
...herd them to the goldfields, sell them
for $5 apiece and make a fortune.
- I just have this image of Kit Carson...
- Of 5000 sheep.
Yeah, Kit Carson herding sheep
all the way across the Humboldt.
Not quite as glamorous
as the grand cattle drive.
It just doesn't work
as a cinematic image.
I see the movie now, with Gabby Hayes.
"Herd them up, kid. Get them moving."
- Yeah, it doesn't quite work.
- Yeah.
The Wild West, where men were men
and sheep were nervous.
Now, we have to have each of our
protagonist brought down, one by one.
By the way, note the difference
in the bars in the cell.
Between the prison we had earlier,
which was a different movie set.
And by the way, I believe the bars
in the cell in the earlier prison...
...were more authentic,
the sort of square.
- Here we have the ones we're used to.
- A little too modern.
A little too modern-looking here, so...
Like, of all the things the filmmakers
wish to be criticised on...
- The state of the bars.
- The accuracy of the bars.
So that's what...
No wonder filmmakers
would wanna grab a gun...
...and start taking care of people.
It's just like, "What?
They're criticising us for what?"
Though the interesting thing,
in the people who've contacted me...
...always to sort of read things
and look at things related to movies...
...the attention to certain details,
I always find astonishing.
That certain people are very interested
in getting certain details right...
...but aren't the least bit interested in
getting other parts of historical detail.
That's to say, they may pay attention to
"Were the bars this way in the jail?"...
...but have a script
that's so outlandish...
...that why they want a historian
to review it, I never understand.
That it has no basis
in any place or time...
...but they want certain details right.
"Were the buttons this way?"
Which is something I'm not
equipped to talk about.
When I worked on The Missing,
in fact... of the more interesting calls
I got from the producers was...
...what kind of seasoning
would be used...
...on the fish that the hero
was cooking for his daughter.
- Did you have an answer?
- I did, you know.
I went to my wife, and she gave me
the answer for that question.
But we actually went
and got Sam Arnold...
...who runs a wonderful restaurant
up in Denver called The Fort...
...and he has a cookbook
on cooking on the Santa Fe Trail.
And I went and got his cookbook.
And cilantro was the answer.
- That is what they would have...
- Okay.
That's what they would've had.
And they would've had that available.
So did my bit for Ron Howard
and the gang on The Missing.
And I think people are just astonished
by the historical accuracy of that film.
Everyone comments on it, of course.
But indeed there are so many
interesting historical Westerns... which they pay very, very close
attention to detail...
...and then are completely wrong
in all the great aspects of the story...
...completely wrong
in the characterisations.
But, boy, they have
those buttons right.
Right. But sometimes one should say
that doesn't matter.
That the film is...
You know, the film stands on its own.
No, indeed.
You know, we did that big Custer
exhibit at the Autry a decade ago...
...and much of it was on Custer
in popular culture.
And my favourite Custer film
is John Ford's Fort Apache... which the cavalry is set in Arizona,
everyone has a different name... know,
they're wiped out by Apaches...
...but it really gets to the heart of
the Custer story and what Custer was.
Why his last stand was so important to
Americans in a way that accurate films...
Right, and one could say that...
...about the various Tombstone movies
and Wyatt Earp movies as well.
No offence to Lawrence Kasdan's
Wyatt Earp...
...but I think My Darling Clementine
is a brilliant film.
Has nothing to do with anything
that may or may not have happened... the O.K. Corral, much less
set anywhere near Tombstone...
...but it's still a brilliant
and powerful film.
Kasdan and Costner's Wyatt Earp
is weighted down by history, in fact.
It's trying to be too close
to what happened.
Absolutely. In fact, the film that Frank
just worked on, The Alamo...
...I think suffers from that as well.
It's just weighted down by the history,
which gets in the way of storytelling.
- It suffers from nothing, it's great.
- It is great. It's a wonderful film.
I do think it is... I mean,
to take a tour of the Alamo today... still a fascinating thing, if only
because it's one of the few sites...
I haven't been there
for a few years, but that is...
Hasn't been reconstructed or revised
in its historical interpretation.
- Not very much.
- That was taken care of by history.
Not very much at all.
And here's the fire,
which is ironic because, of course...
...the place really does
burn down later. It's like:
I wonder if these stories from the past,
the Alamo, Custer's Last Stand...
...again, won't have a new relevance
in our own time.
In the revenge.
And this idea of the last stand and of,
you know, people dying for freedom...
...I think, works for us in a way...
...that it didn't
when this movie was made.
This is another great example
of how Westerns...
More modern Westerns seem to be
a bit more timid, oddly enough... that they take the kid...
...kidnap him for
God knows what reason...
...whereas in
Once Upon a Time in the West...
...Sergio Leone just shoots him,
you know?
Well, that's a wonderful scene
in that film... which he shorthands who,
exactly, Henry Fonda is...
...and gets you over your own idea
of who Henry Fonda is.
And that takes care of that,
and we know where we are.
But in this, one of the bad guys
is about to shoot the kid...
...and they're too soft-hearted
to do it, so they just...
They take him off only because
it's gonna cause trouble later.
Well, again, you've gotta have
a plotline.
You would think a town
this substantial...
...would have a little fire truck
that could come and...
One of those fire engines.
That would've been a big scene to do.
- Spent all the money on the saloon.
- Yeah.
I don't think this is gonna work.
I don't think the fire brigade's
gonna save this.
That just shows us, again,
how pragmatic Brian Dennehy is.
- He's not even trying.
- No. He just walks up, "Give it up."
Fire, yeah. And, of course,
to be a historian again... was, of course, a great problem
in Western communities.
- Everything was built of wood.
- Not just Western, everywhere.
But in the West in particular.
At least back in the East,
they did have firefighting equipment.
But, of course, it's why we have
things like the Great Chicago Fire.
I think also, obviously, for the West...
...the aridity of much of the West
makes fires that much more dangerous.
A problem that continues through
to the present.
And people are lighting
everything with fire.
People are keeping warm with fire.
People are cooking with fire.
And so it's a lot of problems.
And so fire was something...
...everyone lived with
and everyone feared.
And a tinderbox environment
with little water...
- keep things...
- Right.
Although one of the greatest fires
of the 19th century, of course...
...was up in Wisconsin.
That fire that killed hundreds
and hundreds of people...
...right almost at the time
of the Great Chicago Fire...
...and is kind of overlooked
because Chicago gets all the attention.
But every community in the West
was touched by fire.
Really was a problem.
And, of course, is again today.
Now it's very relevant mainly because
communities are building out into...
Places just like we're seeing
this filming going on.
We've had such a dry period
in the West in the last five years...'s just been unbelievable.
It's just lucky for the rest of the town
of Silverado...
...that this one building seems to
be set off from the rest of the town.
And that is because the building is,
of course, an entirely different set.
No, it's somewhere else entirely.
That's why they're shooting around it.
So that works very well for them.
And, no, it's actually, yeah...
Because I think, again, it's not just
one building that usually burns...
- ...many go when...
- Oh, yes, everything goes.
Look at those hats, I mean...
I'm on hats again.
Is that feathers on his hat?
Is that what he's got? Brian Dennehy.
Looks like it.
- Now we have...
- He's a bit of a fop.
By the way, both those characters,
of course, had beards...
...and in the 19th century,
after the Civil War...
...beards were in style.
If you wanna talk about
historicity in Westerns...
...watching hair and watching beards
is important.
At the time of the Alamo, for instance,
hardly anyone would've had a beard...
...and no one would have had, at least
on the American side, a moustache.
That would've been highly unusual,
in terms of style.
Few people would've had
really long hair by that time.
Hair was starting to get short.
You'd have to be older, you'd have
to be kind of a throwback... the revolutionary generation,
like Davy Crockett was... be wearing your long hair.
Or be identified as a plainsman.
I mean, a kind of affected
Western character.
You're really doing it for style.
Hair in the late 19th century
would've been, of course, quite short...
...and, again, if...
Except for those handful
of very flamboyant characters.
If you're Buffalo Bill or you're
Wild Bill Hickok or you're Custer...'re wearing it for effect.
I mean, it's totally a statement.
Bringing your press agent
along with you.
Hopefully people would notice.
Most people would have had
short hair.
But beards indeed
would have been quite prevalent...
...because after the Civil War
and after Lincoln...
...everybody had a beard
for a long time.
And the first presidents often
set the style. I'm trying to think...
I believe the first president after the...
The first president after the Civil War
without a beard...
...would've been Grover Cleveland,
but he had a moustache.
And the first president
without any facial hair...
...would've been William McKinley.
- You've got to go to 1900. Almost 1900.
- Yeah, almost 1900.
And now, of course, our leaders are
terrified of any facial hair whatsoever.
That's just... After Thomas Dewey
lost to Truman...
- facial hair anymore.
- Well, AI Gore grew a beard...
- After.
- ...and was widely ridiculed.
Well, he was having some issues,
I think, some self-identification issues.
That's why I grew a beard.
I thought it was to cover the weak chin.
I was unclear on that. I'm sorry.
- No.
- Oh, that's gotta hurt.
That's hurt more.
I've always wondered how you throw
a knife and actually hit somebody.
I mean, that's gotta be...
He's real good at it, as we will see.
I also often watch the maps
and the photographs on the...
Oh, look at that! See, more knives.
That's great.
Real Jim Bowie stuff.
There's the sort of
Magnificent Seven moment, you know.
That's right.
That's exactly the character.
James Coburn is so wonderful
in that movie.
And Elmer Bernstein just died,
who did that score.
That's such an identifiable score.
But those characters were so great
in that movie.
That's why it's a fabulous Western.
And this plays off that with its cast.
A very colourful cast of characters.
And, again, the same basic
thematic construct...
...of these very sort of
talented gunmen, all with a past...
...have to come to the rescue
of the weak.
Yeah, and Magnificent Seven
is a great Western...
...and has no more connection
to the real West than this does.
Well, based, as it is,
on a Japanese film.
Yeah, of course. Yeah.
But that's because...
It works because the characters
are so great and the story is great.
And the West works,
I think, for all these films...
...because of the setting it provides,
which is this exotic.
You mentioned Brigadoon earlier.
I mean, it really is that, kind of,
strange never-never land...
...where we can play out
these morality tales...
...and have these colourful characters
who couldn't exist anywhere else.
You know, the urban setting
provides the same sort of thing...
...but in a very different way.
Two different Americas.
It's interesting, as you said.
We had The Alamo based on a real...
...and there are various...
Obviously, the Tombstone movies...
...that base on, at least, an incident
in the Western past...
...but otherwise most Westerns are set
in this sort of mythic space...
...that doesn't exist
in any specific time or place...
...or based on any specific incident.
And when they do...
I guess it's striking to me,
for example, and maybe...
...someone who's connected to the
studios can speak to this...
...but why no major Lewis and Clark
film is under development now...
...given all of the sort of fascination
with Lewis and Clark in this moment.
And with the bicentennial... I don't know
of any feature that's being developed.
There's no story. That's the problem
with Lewis and Clark.
- They did do a movie.
- The Far Horizons.
With Fred MacMurray
and Charlton Heston.
Donna Reed as Sacagawea.
She didn't have her
beads on in that movie.
I mean, the pearls that she wears
in the Donna Reed TV show.
But, you know, it's a trip.
It's a trip, but nothing happens.
- Well...
- You know, and so...
They are making, though,
Lewis and Clark: The Musical...
...which is they're... We actually...
Okay, you can sing, you can
sing on the trip, you know.
Sacagawea sings her great song
about going to see the whale, I mean...
Well, there you go.
Lewis and Clark: The Opera
has opened.
Why can you have Lewis and Clark: The
Opera, Lewis and Clark: The Musical...
...but not Lewis and Clark: The Movie?
You know, I just don't think the
journey works that well.
And they made a National
Geographic documentary...
Since I'm making documentaries
now, I pay close attention to these.
I think it's a tough story.
And the majestic scenics
carry the IMAX.
Swooping kind of shot.
That kind of carries it, but
otherwise there's no conflict.
Now here's a great movie
moment coming up.
All right, pay attention.
He's gravely wounded in his head...
...but now that he knows his brother
and his nephew have been captured... comes the bandage.
Screw this, I'm putting
on my cowboy hat.
That's right, this is...
This is the buckle on the gun-belt.
- I'm not hurt anymore.
- It's a miracle!
- Yeah.
- It's a miracle, yeah.
Or he just has to work
through the pain.
I think the historical Western, though,
back to Lewis and Clark...
...the historical Western
is a tough sell.
The failure of The Alamo recently...
- ...not as a film, of course...
- Commercially.
But as a commercial product,
has really damaged the prospects...
...for historical Westerns.
Although The Missing also
was a disappointment for the studios...
...interestingly, the two successful
Westerns of the last year...
...have been Hidalgo,
which is complete fantasy...
Made $70 million.
I mean, it wasn't a blockbuster
but it didn't make 20.
And then, of course, Open Range...
...which also did about the same
amount of business.
Right. These are period...
But they're not based on...
I'm talking about really people
trying to do Western history as film.
Well, that's my point, in fact.
They made more money...
...than the historical Westerns...
...or even The Missing,
which has a historical basis.
And, of course, part of the problem
for The Alamo...
...was that in our modern day... cannot make
the villains evil anymore.
It's why Lord of the Rings
worked so magnificently.
You need to cheer at the end.
And in The Alamo, since we have to... be much more sensitive to both
the causes of the Texas revolution...
...why the men are fighting there,
and then to the Mexican protagonists...'ve got no great evil
that you're fighting.
And it was actually a problem...
...with John Wayne's
1960 Alamo movie as well.
He was also was very careful in
his portrayal of the Mexicans and so...
You don't know anything
about the Mexicans in that movie.
- You don't hate them enough.
- Yeah.
That's what you've got to do
to make that film work...
...and to make the ending
of it work, and so...
And that's why when you
make a film like this... can have an entire army
of bad guys...
...and there's no ameliorating
...about how bad these guys are.
- Don't have to explain away anything.
- So let's shoot them all.
You don't have to explain it.
That's the problem
with the historical Westerns.
Also why it's tough to do
Indian wars movies anymore.
Other than converting it
in a Dances With Wolves way.
- Absolutely.
- You get away with that more easily.
Still that was a grand boys adventure
story, when you think about it.
Dances With Wolves was
as traditional as can be.
You know, it's
The Last of the Mohicans.
It is inverted,
and the Indians are the heroes...
...but Indians are the heroes in
The Last of the Mohicans.
Good Indians, bad Indians.
In fact, the bad Indian is the same
character, Wes Studi, in both films.
Interestingly, Michael Blake,
who I got to know pretty well...
...when I was doing
the Custer exhibit for the Autry...
...he had written a novel on Custer.
That's the novel he wrote
after Dances With Wolves.
He'd just come off the Oscar
with Dances With Wolves...
...and he had read
some of my stuff on Custer...
...and so we got together
and became friends.
He wrote this great Custer novel,
and Custer became a hero...
...because he was fascinated
by the complexity of Custer.
And then he couldn't get it made...
...although Oliver Stone was gonna
make it at one time...
...and others were gonna make it,
and it never happened.
I wonder, though,
if, given the current climate...
...whether doing a film on the military,
with a heroic view of the military...
...of the cavalry again,
would be possible now.
I think it would be.
I think you'd have to deal...
You might not have Indians
as villains.
You might actually show cavalry or
the military playing that difficult role...
...trying to keep the peace
between Indians...
...and, at the same time,
a settler culture...
...that often created
more trouble for them...
...than, you know,
the local Indians might.
But being asked to put down Indians,
regardless of what Indians have done.
Frankly, that's exactly
the plotline in Fort Apache...
...the best Custer film ever made...
...which is the Indians are very heroic,
and they are...
The cavalry still has to fight them.
And the cavalry is still
incredibly heroic.
And so you can have it both ways
because that's the way it was.
What happened to the Western
in the '60s and '70s... that they had to make the cavalry
into these demonic villains...
...and that didn't work for people.
We were talking about
How the West Was Won.
Here we go. It's the cattle stampede.
This is straight out of that.
Absolutely. That's gotta hurt!
And again, animals.
We're back to our thematic construct
of animals in the Western.
It is exactly right out of
How the West Was Won.
Here they come, yes.
Although those are not very authentic
cattle for the period.
I wonder where they got
that huge herd. Look at that.
He's up there with that gun again.
Yeah, that's a shot right out
of How the West Was Won.
Knocking down the fences.
That's a tough place to put the camera.
Well, Frank knows that. He knows
how that movie magic takes place.
I know, but I'm not saying.
And again, we're back
out at that ranch set...
...that is a little distance
from the actual set of the town.
Should've watched closer.
I wonder if the guy who killed the little
piggy got trampled by the cows.
- That would have been...
- That would have been very poignant.
- Better still if he'd been fed to the pigs.
- Yeah.
Let them get their revenge.
The cows and the pigs
have communicated...
...and it's kind of like
Animal Farm, I guess.
By the way,
wasn't he just flat on his back...
...with 14 broken ribs and a major
skull fracture? I mean...
He took off the bandage
off his head and he's fine.
I sense that our one-eyed friend is not
gonna make it through this scene.
Surely, you're mistaken.
I'm not mistaken,
and please don't call me Shirley.
But he's got the kid as
a hostage so...
I had dinner with David Zucker
last night, so I just cribbed his line.
- I understand.
- Yeah.
Which reminds me, by the way,
folks who want to...
...listen to DVD commentary...
...can catch me playing the doctor
delivering O.J. Simpson's baby... the final reel of Naked Gun 33 1/3.
And in the DVD commentary...
...David Zucker says to his producer,
"Oh, look, it's Hutton."
And the producer goes:
"Oh, yeah, he was writing
that book on Davy Crockett.
Did he ever get that book done?"
Zucker goes, "No, and he's
never gonna get that book done."
That's great, isn't that great?
Your friends looking out for you.
And now that news is on
two different DVD titles.
I see. That probably wasn't smart.
They rescued the kid.
- Yeah, didn't see that coming.
- Yeah, and it's just...
And the kid's crying.
And the shootout in the barn
with the horses rearing.
Animals are an intrinsic part of this
movie. I hadn't noticed that before.
I wonder what the body count
actually is in this movie.
I mean, probably more people than
were killed in all of New Mexico in...
It's certainly in the dozens.
But people die well... the sense that they don't die pain...
They die quickly. There's not...
There's neither,
in sort of those '60s Westerns...
...where blood's
spurting all over the place.
- We don't get any of that here.
- It's clean.
Well, I mean, this movie is
not attempting any realism here.
I mean, we are really engaging in
fantasy, and so, yeah, why do that?
I mean that would just be gratuitous,
to have lots of blood and gore.
So you do see a little red spot
and that's enough.
Establishes your point.
He's doing a lot of this,
he's doing all this...
Look at that. I mean, he's doing
all this Robin Hood kind of stuff.
Of course, then he's gonna
play Robin Hood.
This means that Kasdan really did
feel bad about Big Chill...
...and cutting him out of Big Chill...
...and really was giving
him a star turn here.
And he's making every bit
that he can out of it.
That pinto pony helps a lot too.
That's a good-looking horse.
Oh, he's going to ride bareback.
Jeez. That's too much.
The pearl-handled pistols
are a nice touch.
This guy's going to die hard.
He just said, "Let's get out of here."
I've read that that is the line
that appears in more movies...
...than any other single line
in the history of the cinema.
Don't know if it's true...
Did you read that in one
of your own books?
I read that in one of my own books.
I never lie and I'm always right.
And the footnote is...?
What about, "They went thataway."
Is that...?
I don't think you can find more than
two movies that actually say that.
There he goes.
Danny Glover got him.
He goes over the wall.
It's very nice.
- That is very difficult to ride bareback.
- And shoot.
That really is Kevin Costner
riding bareback and shooting...
...and riding up on the porch
and riding off the porch.
That is very nice.
"Hi, guys."
And the fringe is there.
The fringe is a nice touch too.
Yeah, no, he's really giving him
the star treatment here.
What's Costner's next film after this?
Because he goes on to be a superstar.
His next one was No Way Out,
with Gene Hackman and Sean Young.
It was a remake
of a John Farrow film...
...starring Ray Milland
and Charles Laughton...
...called The Big Clock.
The Big Clock and No Way Out
are movies about a man...
...who is forced to investigate a murder
that he has been accused of.
And no one knows that he is
allegedly the one who did it...
...and he's got to investigate it
before anybody finds out.
See, now, what guy puts out his good
crystal out on the street?
Especially... He must know
that trouble's a-brewing.
Trouble's... Yeah, there we go.
And this is very reminiscent,
look at the scene...
...of the film Kevin Costner just did.
The guys gathering
for the big gunfight.
With the church steeple
in the background, though...
...that sets it up very nicely... terms of the signature
of civilisation's rise...
...versus the open plain
on the other side.
On one side, wilderness,
on the other, the church.
Yeah, this is a very schematic set.
The church steeple is
so reminiscent of High Noon too...
...which kind of dominates
that Western town as well.
That's why the set works so well,
by the way...
...just in a filmmaking point of view.
A lot of nice hills around
that kind of guard you...
...from the highway that's just
right over that ridge line.
Right, and a vista that is completely
unobstructed by power lines.
I haven't even seen a vapour trail yet.
Considering there is a major airport
just 50 miles away...
...they're doing a good job here.
Tough to find.
And you see how this they use
this town in Wyatt Earp as well.
This is very reminiscent of Wyatt Earp.
The guy's climbing up there...
...because you know he's gonna be
shot off there.
He's gonna to take a major fall.
No sense in actually walking up
the steps and going out the window...
...when you can climb up the pole.
That would be absolutely correct.
Wouldn't be the cowboy way.
Or the bad cowboy way.
This is the first time we actually had
people on the streets in number.
That opening scene with the
stagecoach coming in and everything...
...used some extras.
Because, again, I'm very concerned
about the extras.
- This is right out of...
- Cemetery scenes here...
It's right out of
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
I'm about to break into Frankie Laine
singing "Boot Hill"... they cross the graveyard
heading for the gunfight. Get it?
That would be...
And there is Silverado
sitting right up there on top of that hill.
You know, that Copland-esque
music there.
Very nice.
You know, you're absolutely right.
The soundtrack to this
is very, very nice...
...and I had not paid
that much attention to it.
I listen to soundtracks when I write,
and so I need to get this.
- I wonder if it's available on CD.
- Yeah, it really is terrific.
And he also did the soundtrack
to Black Robe...
...which is a soundtrack I do listen to
a lot and love. I just think it's great.
And the Western, of course,
really gives you an opportunity... do some wonderful music...
...and really opens up
musical possibilities.
Is he still bareback?
"Let's get them!" Is that another line
that's often used in the Western?
I'll bet it is.
Well, "Let's get out of here"
is not confined to the Western.
It actually shows up
in virtually every movie ever made.
I see, "Let's get out of here."
Except, possibly
The Passion of the Christ.
Which I still haven't seen.
But it would have been a good line in
that movie. "Let's get out of here."
I don't know how you say it
in Aramaic.
- Oh, she's alive!
- She survived!
She's alive. I thought
she took it right in the chest.
Yeah, all the good people survive.
You know, the brother...
...who is shot before the kid is killed,
he's fine. You know, they're all fine.
- Danny Glover's dad didn't live.
- That's true.
Not only was he shot,
they drowned him.
- I mean, for heaven's sake, you know...
- Then I'm sure he was bad at heart.
No, I don't...
- He was just old.
- Yes, just his time to go.
His time to go, yeah.
In that sense, it's very much
like a Gene Autry film... that no one's dying.
Everyone's getting wounded:
"That hurts. Right in the shoulder."
They've been restoring
a lot of those Gene Autry films.
That was nice.
They've been restoring
a lot of those Gene Autry films...
...and showing them on
the Western Channel.
Are you guys financing that?
No, but the Autry Foundation...
I mean, they do it.
- Well, isn't that you?
- We're related, but we're independent.
Trying to distance yourself,
I can see.
But those are nice, those are nice.
There is actually one, Frank,
one of those Autry films...
...that does the Texas World's Fair.
- The Big Show.
- Yeah, The Big Show.
And they have
a little bit of Alamo in there.
So I bought that film just for that.
Frank and I are, of course,
total and complete Alamo loons.
Yeah, clearly.
Agree on almost everything,
except the recent film that was made.
- You mean the great one?
- The great one, yeah, the great one.
Of course, I'm in the great one.
- You are in it?
- I have a close-up.
He has a close-up,
but he doesn't have a line.
I have six lines in Naked Gun 33 1/3.
Six. Six lines.
And I'm in, you know,
the final movie with O.J. Simpson.
With a mask on your face.
It's safe to say that you are in
O.J. Simpson's final movie.
Yes, I think that probably is true.
I do have a mask on my face.
People have often said,
"Who is that masked man?"
- I don't think anybody's ever said that.
- Who are you in The Alamo, Frank?
- Just some guy.
- He's in the...
Is that how you're described in
the credits, "Some Guy"?
He is in the endless Texas Declaration
of Independence scenes...
...where they're all thinking
about what they should be doing...
...while the boys in the Alamo
are fighting for freedom.
I'm the emotional
centre of that scene.
I don't know what he was doing
with John Lee Hancock...
...but he's got three really good
close-ups, so I think he...
- It's just star power.
- Yeah, I guess so, I guess.
And in one of them, he emotes.
It's only a pity that on this DVD
we're exclusively in audio.
Yes, someday we should do another
one of these tracks picture-in-picture.
- Yeah.
- I think the audience would thank us.
There are some good-looking guys
in this room, believe me.
Yeah, but they're all out there
at the sound booth.
John Lee Hancock, by the way,
I think is indeed...
Let me correct myself
and make it clear...
...that he is a great and wonderful guy
and a superb writer.
- And made a great film.
- Did make... Did try at a difficult film.
- Here is a great one.
- We're watching.
We're gonna try and pay attention.
We're not supposed to be watching.
We're supposed to talk.
But this is a scene that should be...
This is classic Western
gunfighter stuff.
I see that.
There you go.
I mean, that's, come on...
- Correct in every detail.
- Yeah.
Just like it happened in the
Old Wild West everywhere.
It's only interesting from
a Western movie point of view...
...that that bad guy
gets such a buildup...
And then dies like that.
And then just dies quickly
without much fanfare.
Because they keep going to him.
"This is gonna be fun," you know.
And that's a problem in Open Range.
It just stunned me in Open Range...
...where they have this buildup,
and against a British guy...
...a British killer who obviously
had murdered Kevin Costner's friend...
...and then he's killed,
but they cut out all the buildup.
You can tell he's supposed to be bad
or we're really supposed to care...
...and he has a great death,
but there is no villainous buildup.
In other words, you've gotta
shoot a pig or something...
...or you've gotta kick the dog,
or you've gotta do something...
You know, the derringer,
the hideaway gun...
...was really prevalent
in the gambler class.
So it's cute that Goldblum has it.
They were quite common in the West,
and they had a wide variety.
In the early West, the riverboat time
that you and I write about, Steve...
...they would have little knives on them
as well, as an all-purpose...
Because you only get one shot...
...and then you stab the guy,
just in case you missed...
...which people usually did in the West,
especially with a small hideaway gun.
And they had whole contraptions
that were rigged... it would pop out in your hand.
And those of us who are climbing
into middle-age now...
...remember the great character
that Jock Mahoney played...
...Yancy Derringer, back in the '50s.
But Scott Glenn really has
recuperated remarkably well.
He's showing no signs of the distress.
You know, revenge
is the great cure-all.
Of being stampeded.
The next time you're down
with a cold or something...
...just decide to get even
with somebody...
...and you'll be right back
on your feet again.
Now his gun is gonna jam.
And he missed on the crucial shot.
But he missed. He finally missed.
Yes, that's incredible.
Is that an outhouse back there,
by the way?
I think we should talk about
plumbing in the Old West.
It's our job to be discussing history.
This is back to my Smell-o-vision
version of Western movies.
This is the guy who had
trampled him earlier... he gets his poetic
comeuppance here.
I see what's going to happen.
Yes. Right.
The milk cans are nice.
Did you see the milk cans there?
That was very nice.
By the way, these trees...
This is very high plain.
These trees are all planted, you see.
The set dresser has brought them in.
There's no trees out there,
as you can see if you look at the vista.
It's not natural to the place.
I hope he doesn't get knocked in a
pigpen and then eaten by the pigs.
That would be indeed very poignant.
And it would be prescient,
as well, for things to come.
- Where do you learn words like that?
- I studied with you.
Steve has got a Ph.D.,
and he doesn't know words like that.
- I've learned not to used them.
- I spend a lot of time alone.
Just studying the thesaurus.
- Where did you go to graduate school?
- Berkeley.
So you're just a California boy.
Now you're back here at UCLA.
That's got to kind of
cause you conflict... have graduated from Berkeley
and be at UCLA.
That has gotta be painful for you.
That would be like if I went
to Purdue or something.
I mean, oh, my God.
The pain of that.
Oh, another wound.
And now without a weapon.
Yes, he's got to find another way.
What is the matter with this guy
that he...?
Yeah, rather than shooting
from his horse being at a standstill...
...he, of course, gallops his horse.
But here comes...
- There you go.
- I see. Very, very nice. Very nice.
There was a lot of that
in the Old West.
A lot of the diving your horse out of
a second-story building.
That's something
Champion could've done.
- Yes, and did it very well.
- Yeah.
The various Champions.
This would be an opportunity to talk
about great horses in the movies.
- Tarzan?
- Tom Mix's horse, right?
And what was William S. Hart's
horse's name?
- That's a tough one.
- Oh, I do know that.
Well, we're waiting for you to tell us.
It'll come to me when I'm
not thinking about it.
Tony? Is it Tony?
- William S. Hart? No?
- Maybe.
Topper, of course,
is Hopalong Cassidy's horse.
And most recently, Seabiscuit... a slightly different
version of the Western.
Well, yes.
Now here we are, down to the
final two people upright, apparently.
Evidently. By the way, Buttermilk
was Dale Evans' horse name.
- Trigger for Roy Rogers.
- Trigger's easy.
Let's not forget Silver.
Silver? What about Scout?
"Get him up, Scout," remember?
Now that's the clichd shot, though.
On the one end...
When we discuss Mr. Kasdan's films,
we should not use the word "clich."
We should talk about framing,
we should talk about brilliance.
- We should talk about use of light.
- Homage.
It's a brilliant shot.
Did you see the tumbleweed?
Look, they've got the fans going.
They're blowing that dust.
As if you have to get fans going
in New Mexico.
Unfortunately, we do have lots of dust
all the time whipping through.
And again, this is a classic scene.
It's certainly the classic scene
in Western movies... that final gunfight.
I think, as I said earlier, many Western
historians have suggested...
...that the prevalence of such scenes
are greatly exaggerated... Western movies.
That... As an event in Western towns,
it was a rarity.
To get that kind of gunfighter,
formal duel.
That's not to say there's not a long
duelling tradition in American history...
...especially coming out
of the old South...
...where honour culture and notions
of duelling and protection of honour...
...have a sort of long-standing...
Especially, continuing into
the early republic.
But in the Old West, I think that sort of
gunfighter duel, the formal duel... relatively less common.
I can only think of two of them
that actually ever occurred.
One is a very famous gunfight between
Wild Bill Hickok and Dave Tutt... the town square of St. Joe.
They really did call each other out.
They really met in the middle of town.
And Hickok absolutely drilled him...
...then turned and covered the other
guys that were coming to help Dave.
And then, of course,
the gunfight at the O.K. Corral...
...the classic walk down the street
to the confrontation with your enemies.
Actually, at the O.K. Corral, it would be
the vacant lot behind the O.K Corral...
...where the gunfight took place.
Doesn't sound quite as good.
I think if you were raised
on Western movies... would think this was
an almost daily event.
You would think, indeed.
More common would be
the gunfight Wild Bill had...
...with Phil Coe, the gambler...
...which takes place in the doorway
of the Alamo saloon.
Coe had shot a dog
and is just raising hell...
...and Hickok comes running up,
and they have gunfight right there.
He kills Phil Coe, and then hears
someone coming up behind him.
Turns, swirls and fires,
and shoots his own deputy dead.
That gunfight in Abilene is
about as famous and more typical...
...of the kind of gunfights
that really occurred...
- ...which is chaotic action.
- Right.
And usually just occurring in a second,
without that long walk.
That's why the Hickok duel
with Dave Tutt is so famous.
The gunfights in movies
are always staged this way...
...I think simply as a way
to build up tension... a way to have the main
protagonist and the main antagonist...
...face each other down.
They usually get to say
a few words to each other...
...sum up things in a way
that we would often like to do in life.
So I think dramatically it makes a great
deal of sense. This is simply tension.
Yeah, and very stylised.
And this gunfight is too.
I mean, it plays off the convention
of the Western itself.
It's almost like a ballet,
it's almost a little dance that they do.
And they come together
for the climactic moment of the film...
...and you know the hero's gonna win,
the villain's gonna die...
...and it's very dramatic.
What's amazing is that it
can still have such power.
You've got to have the big gunfight.
It's a Western.
Especially if you're playing
off the conventions of the Western.
Like I said earlier, there's that
one character who's built up so much...
...and then is sort of killed offhandedly.
That's probably the way
it could happen in real life...
...but dramatically, you really want
to build up to the face-off...
...and to have people
go out in a memorable way.
It's just the way we like our drama.
But here is the great reveal.
- Here we go.
- Yep.
And back to those
Copland-esque French horns... let us know we're...
We've been classic all the way,
and we're classic at the end.
Well, it moves very well.
It works as exactly
what it's supposed to be.
It's movie magic, it's great characters,
it's larger than life.
A lot of action.
I've got no complaints with this movie.
I like it a lot.
And It's not a pretentious film at all.
- I mean, it's exactly what it is.
- Listen.
"We'll be back!"
There is the sequel, set up.
And it never comes.
And look at that
New Mexico landscape.
Well, boys, this has just been
great fun.
It's been great to see this film again...
...which I actually hadn't
seen since it came out.
I saw it when it came out.
And it was such a touchstone
to an effort on Kasdan's part... re-create the Western.
It didn't quite work, I think,
the way he had hoped it would... bringing back a lot of Westerns,
but it holds up well today.
It's been great for me, Paul Hutton... be here with you, Frank,
and you, Steve, and see this.
It has been a pleasure.
I look forward, Paul and Frank... joining you for Silverado 2
at some point.
This is Steve Aron.
I'm Frank Thompson and I've broken
one of my cardinal rules in life... talking all the way
through a movie.
You'll never catch me doing this again,
but I had a great time.
Well, let's do it again, Frank.
My connection, slight as it is,
with the film industry...
...leads me to sit through all credits
and watch them very carefully.
Especially to see where
my little minor one is.
You get a deeper
appreciation for credits.
In The Alamo,
I had to tell all my family:
"For once you're gonna have
to sit through the credits...
...because my name comes
at the very last..."
That's how you know when you're
seeing a movie in Los Angeles...
- ...because people do.
- They do.
In Los Angeles,
people sit and watch...
And applaud.
Three people will applaud when
the property master's credit comes up.
"What's that?"
If, after you're finished watching the
final scene of Naked Gun 33 1/3--
- Which we're all gonna go rent.
- I hope you will.
As well as the New Mexico
tourist brochure.
But you need to watch the credits
all the way through...
...because, toward the end
of the credits...
Because the Zucker brothers always do
these funny credits...
...and toward the very end
of the film, it says:
"For further reading, we suggest
Phil Sheridan and His Army... Paul Andrew Hutton."
- So there we go.
- There's a plug.
Available from the University of
Oklahoma Press, now New Press.
Which is also, by the way,
bringing out my The Custer Reader...
...which is just coming out
in another month.
You can pick up your copy, Steve.
As I know you'll want to
get the new edition...
...of Worlds Together, Worlds Apart
from W.W. Norton.
A History of the Modern World From
the Mongol Empire to the Present.
- You wrote this?
- I cowrote it.
You cowrote it. You couldn't do
the whole world by yourself?
As well as, forthcoming from
Indiana University Press...
...American Confluence:
The Missouri Frontier
From Borderland to Border State.
My goodness, that sounds very good.
Oh, very good.
And still How the West Was Lost:
The Transformation of Kentucky
from Daniel Boone to Henry Clay.
- Which is a wonderful book.
- As are yours.
I don't want to butt in on this.
That was some
really shameless plugging.
I have had four books come
out since November, but...
What would those be, Frank?
I can't keep track of them all.
Simply Google me and you'll find out.
Google you.
I'm not gonna Google you, Frank.
I refuse to.
And I wish you wouldn't talk that way.
Then that's one more dream
that will never come true.